Finding the perfect rental accommodation in the BVI can be a different experience than searching property markets in other places, so keep an open mind when viewing potential homes. One thing that’s almost guaranteed with any property is a good view; the majority of the rental properties in the BVI have a fantastic ocean view.
Homes that are made up of more than one building are common in the BVI, in part because of the steep hillsides and because some owners like the idea of having large areas of outdoor space for entertaining in between bedrooms.
Most people don’t drink tap water in the BVI unless they have a UV filter. Many households purchase an office-style water cooler machine and refill the bottles from conveniently located and reasonably priced water machines. Mains water is not available in every house on the island, so locals are very reliant on catching and storing rainwater.
Pools and gardens:
The idea of a pool is often a part of the Caribbean dream when moving to the British Virgin Islands but there are some practical things to bear in mind:
- Is it child proofed or is it possible to make it so.
- It costs about $250 per month to pay for a pool service. Usually the tenant pays for this. Clarify who pays if there is a leak or a broken pump.
- Look at the position of the pool relative to the breeze and nearby trees. Steady winds will cool the water considerably, and an abundance of leaves can be a maintenance headache.
Gardens here can vary from concrete yards to lush tropical fruit trees and colourful flowers. Usually the landlord pays for the gardener, but clarify how often they come.
Laundry and dishwashers:
Many cheaper properties don’t include laundry facilities, but there are numerous laundromats and launderettes around the island, some of which offer a serviced wash option. More and more properties come with dishwashers.
Many landlords do not welcome pets. If you have an animal that will reside here with you, or you intend to adopt an animal from the Animal Shelter, then you may have to sign an additional agreement with your lease and pay a deposit of, on average, $500 per pet.
Estate agents and leases:
There are several agents on the island that can help you find a rental property. The agent’s fees are paid for by the landlord, not the tenant, so you will not incur any fees for your rental search. You are free to work with several agents or just one. If you would prefer to work with a single agent so that you are only required to brief one person of your requirements, then they can show you properties from their own and other agents’ listings.
When you find a property that you want to rent, you will need to:
- Pay a security deposit of 1 month’s rent
- Sign a lease
- Pay the first month’s rent on signing
The majority of rental properties are managed by the landlord directly, so once you have been introduced to the landlord you will not need to contact the agent for issues relating to the house. Most leases run for 1 year, but sometimes a landlord will agree to a shorter lease if needed. Generally, leases tie you to the agreed duration unless it is necessary leave the BVI and not return, or no longer have a work permit and will no longer be residing in the property, so if you have to leave the BVI, you will have to give 2 months’ notice to break the lease.
Rental home jargon:
- Unfurnished – no furniture and no appliances
- Semi-furnished – no furniture with appliances (fridge, stove as a minimum, with dishwasher, microwave and laundry facilities as extras if specified)
- Part-furnished – may just have beds or a sofa, but will specify
- Furnished – includes furniture
- Fully furnished – includes furniture and linen, towels and kitchen flatware (cutlery), utensils, pots and pans etc.
- A/C – air conditioning
- North Shore – the Atlantic side of the island, where most of the beaches are located
- The Ridge Road – the road running along the top of the island, mainly linking the area above Road Town
- The South Side – overlooking the Sir Francis Drake Channel and outer islands running from Virgin Gorda to St John in the USVI.
Listed below are the price ranges of various types of accommodations on the islands (prices per month):
- Studio: $600-1000
- 1-bedroom apt.: $800-$1500
- 2-bedroom apt.: $1200-$2000
- 2-bedroom house: $2000+
- 3-bedroom house (w/pool): $3000+