This is what I want…
I get questions about rentals in Buenos Aires all the time, especially medium-term, so I figured I’d make a little summary. I divide them in three broad categories:
- Short-term rentals geared towards foreign tourists
- Medium-term rentals, which are usually furnished, temporary rentals used both by foreigners and by Argentineans, such as students from other parts of the country
- Long-term rentals mainly accessible to Argentineans or others with a guarantee
1. Short-term vacation rentals: There are lots of options for tourists, and this is what I did when I came to Argentina on vacation several years ago. After the 2001 crisis, many people invested in property and make good money renting them out to foreigners in dollars. The typical websites for this is VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) and AirBnB, but there are plenty of others specific to Buenos Aires as well. You can also use Craigslist Buenos Aires for this. For tourists, I think the nicest areas to stay are Recoleta, Palermo Chico/Barrio Parque/Botánico, and Palermo Soho. (To me, Palermo Hollywood is a little too far from the action and a little dead during the day. Microcentro is too noisy and not nice at night, and San Telmo, while of course quintessentially Buenos Aires and beautiful, just seems to get more and more insecure.) These rentals are usually paid in dollars, through either credit cards, PayPal, or cash. (Often you pay a part of it before arrival and the rest in cash when you get here.) These rentals can be both whole apartments and houses, or a single room.
2. The medium-term rentals, alquileres temporarios, is sort of a mix of the fancy rentals geared towards tourists, and more basic apartments often rented by students, both foreign and national. You can often get a good discount on an AirBnB rental if you contact the owner and negotiate a price – they might be interested in giving you a really good deal if you stay for several months, because it of course makes it easier for them and secures them a long-term income, especially in low season. What you can do is take it off AirBnB; the trick is to not write your email, because the system will block the message, but you can write something like “please contact me on my full name at the server that starts with G.” Temporary rentals are usually always furnished and contracts are usually up to six months, sometimes with the option of renewal. You can find these rentals through agents (who usually take 20% commission) or websites such as SoloDueños, Craigslist, ZonaProp, CompartoDepto, and others.
Foreigners often resort to these because of the restrictions on the longer term rentals. The good thing is of course the flexibility, the bad thing is that if you are here to stay, you may not want a place that is all furnished. I find that the rentals geared towards tourists are usually very nicely decorated but with a lot of stuff, paintings, etc. which makes it harder to make it your own. The ones used more by students tend to have simpler furniture (furuhelvete as we would say in Norway – pine, pine, pine) but that also usually means that you can do a little more with the place. I asked my landlady to take away as many decorative cushions etc. as possible, I am not using any of their lines, and I will ask them to paint the bedroom white for a cleaner look. I put on white lines and towels to make everything look simpler and bigger and I stuffed most of the decorative items in a closet. Now, if there was a way to wish away the red accent wall in the living room… Oh, and don’t be too scared by the ads – while apartments in Norway are usually styled and photographed by professionals, here the ads are simpler and there are often random people and animals in the apartment photos!
…and this is what you might get
3. The long-term rentals are regulated by strict laws, and tenant rights are quite strong, so these contracts require a few things that most foreigners do not have, especially not early on:
- Garantía: This is a guarantee granted by a friend, family member or employer who has to be a property owner, preferably in Buenos Aires proper (CABA, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires). Basically the grantor promises to pay rent if the renter does not pay, and to intervene if the renter does not vacate the premises when he or she has to. Of course you have to be pretty close to someone if they are going to agree to give you this guarantee, so it is not an option for new arrivals without family here, unless their company provides it. I do know that sometimes rental agencies or owners will accept you without the guarantee if you pay a large deposit or agree to a higher price, but I have not been able to do this.
- Some require a pay slip from your job.
- Deposit: It varies a lot what the deposit is, but usually at least two months rent.
- Commission if you go through an agency.
After some time here, it is usually easier to get into this third rental market, because you start making more contacts and find out about things through word of mouth, but if you can find a good temporary rental, that is a great option as well. The websites are basically the same as for the temporary rentals. The big difference is of course the price – the long term rentals, which are basically all in pesos, are really quite economical compared to most places. Then again, you need furniture and often items such as fridges, washer etc. which are big investments.