This does not not necessarily apply to renting short term. Short term is generally defined as less than 3-6 months. Long term is generally defined as more than 3-6 months
with most people agreeing 6 months or more is long term. If you are renting short term it is good to use an international vacation rental service like homeaway.com or airbnb.com where there is a well established record of rentals and a reputation the owner or manager of the property wants to protect. These sites also have protections. You may find long term rentals there but the deals are normally found on the ground and it is wise to check out any place you are committing to for months at a time in person if possible.
High Season is December 1 to the end of Easter Week. This is when most of the rental business occurs. Prices are higher and rentals are fewer. If you are booking long term near the beginning of High Season you will have much less leverage than if you were booking at the end. But don’t be discouraged if your are coming at the best time. Be patient you will find something at a price you are comfortable with.
It is best to plan for not receiving your deposit back on long term contracts. Most rental agents/owners are going to try to rip you off on your deposit at the end of your lease. The common scam is to charge first and last months rent plus a security deposit. EVERYTHING is negotiable. Always be nice and respectful and be ready to walk away. Insist on paying only first and last months rent or some smaller deposit you dont mind losing. Some will turn you away some will not. In my experience most will not.
Here is who gets what
Generally speaking it works like this. A property manager gets a 10% cut. The marketer gets a 10% cut and the owner gets the rest. Of course any one person can be all three and so on. If there is a 20% pay out they are more likely to try to get that extra deposit out of you to cover the commissions up front.
Dominicans and Foreigners
If you are visiting you are a Foreigner or Gringo in the eyes of most Dominicans. Dominicans are wonderful beautiful people but I personally would not rent from a Dominican I did not know. The only way I would rent from a Dominican would be if the place was so inexpensive I would be willing to walk away from whatever I had in it or if I personally knew them to be fair.
You are a Foreigner, Gringo or Outsider in the eyes of most Dominicans
and people from other countries do not have a great track record of treating the Dominicans well. They know you probably wont be around long and they know how incredibly slow the justice system is. They can wait you out while they sit on your money. You are a target. No matter how rich or poor you are in your country, you are rich in the eyes of most Dominicans.
Rental Unit Services in the Dominican Republic
Some people prefer to have services like cable, internet and electricity in their own name. But if you don’t speak Spanish this can be a hassle. It is not unusual for a landlord or manager to let your cable or internet service lapse. In those cases if all else fails I personally go ahead and pay the bill myself (where possible) and deduct it from the rent. Always get a receipt for everything. I present the adjusted rent payment with a copy of the receipt. Always save every receipt. Not having a receipt is a great excuse for someone to try to rip you off in the Dominican Republic.