The Lease Agreement

Understand the different elements of the rental contract and the obligations of the landlord and tenant when renting property in Panama...

Foreigners have the same renting rights as Panamanian citizens. The tenant and landlord sign a bilateral contract, which must include the following:

  • Rental rate
  • Deposit amount
  • Rental term

The following documents are needed to sign a contract:

  • Passport, or other valid Panama ID
  • Proof of income, which can be a letter from an employer, a tax declaration, or a bank or income statement

Sometimes a reference letter is needed. Generally, an owner/landlord wants proof that a tenant can pay the rent. The owner/landlord may ask for additional documents, but this request is at their discretion, and is decided on a case by case basis. The tenant gives the landlord a security deposit, usually the same amount as a month's rent, as well as the first month's rent.

The length of a rental contract tends to be negotiable, but standard leases range from one to three years. Laws tend to benefit the renter and with 30 days' notice, which must be given in written form to the owner/landlord, it is possible to move out regardless of the lease contract. For both furnished and unfurnished properties, the notice period can sometimes be negotiated and then included in the contract.

A leasing contract should be registered with the Ministerio de Vivienda (MIVI), Panama's housing department. As soon as a contract has been signed by both parties, it should be registered with the MIVI by the owner; a copy of the stamped contract should be given to the renter after this has been done.

Rent increases

There is no regulation for rental increases in Panama. If an owner wishes to increase the rental rate, the renter is informed. They then have the option to pay the increased rent, negotiate, or find a new property to rent.

Other rental costs

There are no additional fees when renting a property in Panama.