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Bahamas – Lease Agreements

Typical Lease Term in the Bahamas

The typical lease term for renting property in the Bahamas is commonly set at one year. Rental agreements in the Bahamas often follow this standard duration, but lease terms can vary and may be negotiated between the landlord and tenant based on mutual agreement.

It’s important to note that short-term rentals, such as vacation rentals or seasonal leases, may have shorter lease terms, typically ranging from a few weeks to a few months. However, for expats and long-term residents, a one-year lease is a common arrangement.

Difference Between Furnished and Unfurnished Rentals

In the Bahamas, rental properties are available in both furnished and unfurnished options, each with its own characteristics:

  • Furnished Rentals: Furnished rental properties in the Bahamas come fully equipped with essential furniture, appliances, and often include kitchenware and bedding. These properties are move-in-ready, making them suitable for expats or individuals looking for convenience during their stay.
  • Unfurnished Rentals: Unfurnished rental properties in the Bahamas are typically empty and do not include furniture or appliances. Tenants are responsible for furnishing the property to their preferences. Unfurnished rentals are suitable for long-term residents who wish to personalize their living space.

The choice between furnished and unfurnished rentals depends on individual preferences, budget, and the intended duration of the lease. Furnished rentals are popular among expats and those seeking temporary accommodation, while unfurnished rentals offer more flexibility for long-term residents.

Standard Clauses in Lease Agreements

Lease agreements in the Bahamas typically include standard clauses that outline the terms and conditions of the rental. Some of the common clauses found in Bahamian lease agreements include:

  • Lease Duration: Specifies the initial lease term, often set at one year, and outlines renewal options if applicable.
  • Rent Amount: States the monthly rent amount, payment due date, and any late payment penalties.
  • Deposit (Security Deposit): Details the deposit amount, typically equivalent to one month’s rent, and conditions for its return at the end of the lease.
  • Utilities: Clarifies which utilities (e.g., water, electricity, cable, internet) are included in the rent and which are the tenant’s responsibility.
  • Repairs and Maintenance: Outlines the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant regarding property maintenance and repair requests.
  • Pets: Specifies whether pets are allowed on the property and any associated pet deposits or restrictions.
  • Exit Cleaning: Guidelines on the condition the property should be in upon vacating, including any cleaning requirements.

These standard clauses provide a framework for rental agreements in the Bahamas and ensure clarity on the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants. However, specific terms and conditions may vary based on individual agreements.


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Additional but Non-Mandatory Clauses

While lease agreements in the Bahamas typically include standard clauses, there may be additional clauses that can be included but are not mandatory. These additional clauses can be customized to address specific needs or circumstances and are subject to negotiation between the parties involved. Examples of non-mandatory clauses include:

  • Renewal Terms: Provisions for lease renewal, including potential rent adjustments and notice requirements.
  • Early Termination: Conditions for early lease termination, penalties, and notice periods.
  • Subletting: Terms and restrictions on subletting the property to others.
  • Gardening and Landscaping: Responsibilities for garden and landscaping maintenance, if applicable.

It’s essential for both landlords and tenants to discuss and agree upon these additional clauses before finalizing the lease agreement to avoid misunderstandings.

Considerations When Signing a Lease Contract

Expats and newcomers to the Bahamas should be aware of several key considerations when signing a lease contract:

  • Tenancy Laws: Familiarize yourself with Bahamian tenancy laws and regulations, as they may vary by island or region.
  • Deposit (Security Deposit): Understand the purpose of the security deposit, the amount required, and the conditions for its refund at the end of the lease.
  • Notice Period: Be aware of the notice period required for both landlords and tenants in case of lease termination or renewal.
  • Insurance: Consider renters’ insurance to protect personal belongings and liability in case of accidents or damages.

Review the lease agreement carefully, seek legal advice if needed, and ensure that all terms and conditions are fully understood and agreed upon before signing.

Condition Reports in the Bahamas

Condition reports, also known as move-in/move-out inspections, are not as common in the Bahamas as in some other countries. However, it is still advisable for both landlords and tenants to conduct a thorough walkthrough of the property before occupancy to document its condition.

During this walkthrough, any existing damages, defects, or issues should be noted, and both parties should sign a written agreement acknowledging the property’s condition. While it may not be as formalized as a condition report, this practice helps protect both landlords and tenants from disputes regarding property damage.

Qualifications and Licenses for Letting Agents

In the Bahamas, individuals and agencies engaged in real estate activities, including letting agents, should be licensed by the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA). To obtain a license, individuals typically need to complete relevant courses and meet specific qualifications.

Before engaging the services of a letting agent, it’s advisable to verify their BREA license to ensure they are authorized to operate legally in the Bahamas.

Association or Organization for Reputable Letting Agencies

The primary organization for reputable real estate professionals and agencies in the Bahamas is the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA).

Here is the official website of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA).

Membership in BREA is typically a sign of a letting agency’s commitment to professionalism and adherence to industry standards. However, while membership is encouraged, it may not be mandatory for letting agencies.

When considering a letting agency in the Bahamas, you can inquire about their membership in BREA and conduct due diligence to ensure a reputable and trustworthy rental experience.


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