By Christopher Howard, Live in Costa Rica blog – When renting an apartment or house in Costa Rica retirees should always have their lawyer look over the rental contract before signing it. Nevertheless there are a few things retirees should know to avoid misunderstandings and headaches down the road.

644659_448304148585748_1472831698_n(1) The amount of the monthly rent should be stipulated in a written contract.

(2) The amount that the rent may be increased yearly if in colones.

(3) The length of the contract should be stipulated.

(4) Any contract should include the amount of the deposit.

(5) There should be a clause in the contract that states how and under what circumstances the deposit may be used. Unfortunately the deposit is not usually returned to the tenant, so many renters knowing this don’t pay the last month’s rent.

(6) Make sure you have a written contract. In the absence of one it will be difficult to prove what were terms of a verbal contract. However, in the worst case scenario rent receipts can be used to show the amount agreed to.

(7) Any contract should also specify who is responsible for repairs and improvements. Usually in a contract it says that the deposit should not be used for paying the last months rent but to cover any damage to the premises once the renter has moved. If the deposit was to be used to pay the last months rent it would not protect the landlord in the event the renter didn’t pay the final month’s rent, or cover any damages or outstanding bills for utilities.

(8) According to the Rental Law numbers 35 and 37 the renter and landlord share responsibility for the repairs of the rental. According to the law if the landlord is notified by the tenant and does nothing to repair the property within ten days, then the tenant can repair the property and charge the owner. In the case of improvements done by the renter without consulting the owner or without permission, the latter does not have to pay anything to the tenant.

Source: Live in Costa Rica blog