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Panama – Lease Agreements

Typical Lease Term in Panama

When renting property in Panama, the typical lease term can vary but is commonly 12 months. However, lease terms are generally flexible, and landlords and tenants can negotiate the duration based on their preferences and needs. Some rental agreements may have shorter or longer terms, depending on the mutual agreement between the parties involved.

Difference Between Furnished and Unfurnished Rental Properties

Rental properties in Panama can be categorized into two main types: furnished and unfurnished. Understanding the distinctions between these options is crucial for prospective tenants:

  • Unfurnished Rental Properties: Unfurnished properties in Panama typically do not include furniture, appliances, or other household items. Tenants are responsible for furnishing the property themselves, including providing essential amenities. Unfurnished rentals often have longer lease terms and are suitable for those planning to stay for an extended period.
  • Furnished Rental Properties: Furnished properties come fully equipped with furniture, appliances, and sometimes even kitchenware and linens. These rentals offer convenience and are ideal for expats, tourists, or individuals on shorter-term assignments. Furnished properties generally come at a higher monthly rent due to the included furnishings.

The choice between furnished and unfurnished properties depends on the tenant’s needs, budget, and the duration of their stay in Panama.

Standard Clauses in Lease Agreements

Lease agreements in Panama typically include standard clauses that outline the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. While specific terms may vary, common clauses found in Panamanian lease agreements include:

  • Lease Duration: Specifies the initial lease term, which is often 12 months, and any provisions for renewal or termination. It may also outline the notice period required for lease termination.
  • Rent Payment: Details the monthly rent amount, due date, and the method of payment, which is often by bank transfer or post-dated checks.
  • Deposit (Security Deposit): Specifies the amount of the security deposit, its handling, and the conditions under which deductions may be made, such as for damages or unpaid rent.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Outlines the responsibilities of both parties regarding property maintenance, repairs, and who bears the costs.
  • Termination Notice: Specifies the notice period required by either party for lease termination or non-renewal.

These standard clauses are designed to ensure transparency and protect the interests of both landlords and tenants. It is essential for tenants to thoroughly review the lease agreement before signing and seek legal advice if needed.

Additional Clauses in Lease Agreements

Additional clauses may be included in lease agreements in Panama to address specific concerns or preferences of both parties. These additional clauses can cover various aspects, including:


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  • Utilities: Clarify which utilities, such as water, electricity, gas, and internet, are included in the rent and which are the tenant’s responsibility.
  • Pets: Specify whether pets are allowed in the rental property and any associated rules or fees.
  • Renovations and Alterations: Outline whether tenants are allowed to make changes or improvements to the property and the approval process required.

Additional clauses should be mutually agreed upon by both parties and should comply with Panamanian tenancy laws and regulations.

Considerations When Signing a Lease Contract

Expats and newcomers signing a lease contract in Panama should be aware of several key considerations:

  • Tenant Rights and Responsibilities: Familiarize yourself with Panamanian tenancy laws to understand your rights and obligations as a tenant. It’s advisable to consult the Panama Ministry of Public website or seek legal advice if necessary.
  • Language: Ensure that the lease agreement is in a language you understand. If the contract is in Spanish and you are not fluent, consider seeking translation or legal assistance to ensure you fully comprehend the terms.
  • Deposit Handling: Confirm that the security deposit is properly handled and secured in accordance with Panamanian law. The deposit should be held in a separate account and returned to the tenant at the end of the lease, minus any valid deductions.

It is advisable to seek legal counsel or consult with a reputable letting agent to ensure that your lease contract is fair, legally sound, and that you fully comprehend its terms, especially if you are not fluent in Spanish.

Condition Reports in Panama

Condition reports are not as common in Panama as in some other countries. However, tenants can still benefit from documenting the condition of the property before signing the lease agreement. It is advisable to take photographs or videos of the property’s condition to serve as evidence in case of disputes regarding damages or maintenance issues.

Qualifications and Licenses for Letting Agents

In Panama, letting agents are not required to hold specific licenses to operate. However, professionalism and industry knowledge are highly valued in the real estate sector. Reputable letting agents often have relevant education and experience in property management and real estate transactions.

When selecting a letting agent, consider their reputation, experience, and whether they are affiliated with industry organizations. While there is no specific licensing body for letting agents, affiliations with respected organizations can indicate a commitment to professional standards.

Association or Organization for Letting Agencies

Panama does not have a single association or organization that all letting agencies must belong to. However, reputable letting agencies may be affiliated with industry organizations to demonstrate their commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct. While not exhaustive, here are a few notable industry organizations in Panama:

  • Panama Chamber of Commerce, Industries, and Agriculture (CCIAP): CCIAP is a prominent business association in Panama that represents various industries, including real estate. Some letting agencies may be associated with CCIAP, indicating their commitment to business ethics and standards.
  • Panama Association of Real Estate Brokers and Developers (ACOBIR): ACOBIR is a respected organization in the real estate sector in Panama. While it primarily represents real estate brokers and developers, some letting agencies may also be members. ACOBIR promotes professional development and ethical standards within the real estate industry.

Tenants can inquire about a letting agency’s affiliations with these or other organizations to gauge their professionalism and adherence to industry guidelines.

In conclusion, renting property in Panama typically involves flexible lease terms, with 12 months being common. Tenants can choose between furnished and unfurnished rental properties based on their needs and duration of stay. Standard lease agreement clauses cover essential terms, and additional clauses may be negotiated. Expats should be aware of their rights and responsibilities, especially if the lease agreement is in a language they do not fully understand. While condition reports are not prevalent, documenting the property’s condition is advisable. Letting agents are not required to be licensed, but their qualifications and affiliations with industry organizations can indicate professionalism. Reputable letting agencies may be affiliated with organizations such as CCIAP or ACOBIR.


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