For the purpose of this article, we will concentrate on the rental market for Ex Pats, not locals. It’s not that locals live in squalid conditions but that Ex Pats live well - to Western European/North American Standards. Air conditioning, Internet, dish washer, etc. are not considered luxuries but essentials.
Because Cyprus is so tourism oriented, much of the housing stock that would normally be available for long-term lease is taken up by the vacation/short-term market. However there are still a number of great places available.
Renting a home in North Cyprus is much the same as anywhere else:
- You will sign a lease agreement for a set period of time
- There may be a damage deposit that can equal one month’s rent
- The rent is due on a set day each month
- Last month is often required in advance
- The Lessee is responsible for utilities
There are some differences:
- There are not many apartment complexes (called flats) for ex pats
- Rent runs about ½ to ⅓ of what you may pay elsewhere
- There are no real rental background checks
- Rents are often handled by an Estate Agent, not a Property Management Company
Let’s expand on the cost a little as that is what most people will taker a serious interest in: A two bedroom, two bath, apartment (condo) in a complex near the sea may run between £200 & £300 a month. A small apartment rented by an individual in a smaller area near the sea may run as low as £100 a month. You may pay much more in a high traffic tourist area but these complexes often feature every amenity you would want.
Because you will not be dealing with a rental complex but with a private owner (even if represented by an Estate Agent), it is normal for a little back and fourth to take place concerning terms and pricing. Remember, you are negotiating in Pounds, not Dollars.
These complexes are normally mixed use. This is to say some units are empty most of the year and are used as vacation get-aways for the owners. Many are on the short-term rental market because a week’s rent may equal a month’s rent in the long-term market. And the permanent residents make up a small group.
The folks who actually live in these complexes are often active retirees. Most own and a few rent. For some portions of the year, these permanent residents are the only people actually living in the complex.
During these periods, these residents can be out numbered by complex staff. It’s from this group that the Home Owners Association is normally comprised. Obviously, this makes sense as permanent residents know much more about the complex than those who visit two weeks a year in high-season. The unit owner normally pays any HOA or Management fees.
Like renting anywhere, there are some advantages and dis-advantages to renting over owning. The chief advantages are as follows:
- No huge investment up front
- Ability to simply move at the end of the lease
- No appliance maintenance
- No taxes or complex maintenance fees
- Can purchase a home after you know the area
- Treated the same as an owner in most matters
There are a few drawbacks:
- No home equity
- May need to meet higher residency requirements
- Can be forced to move at the end of lease
- Cannot rent the property to others later
In general, all the advantages and disadvantages you would expect to find in other parts of the world are in play here. The up-front cost of buying a home can be a major hindrance as financing here is available but requites a large down payment (50% down for Americans).