Most expats who are not preparing to retire in Fiji tend only to move to the country for a short-term assignment. Expats are therefore more likely to rent than buy accommodation in the interim.
Regardless of what type of accommodation expats are looking for and the duration of their stay, it's important that they familiarise themselves with the processes for renting property in Fiji before they move.
Types of accommodation in Fiji
Expats will find a range of accommodation types in Fiji, from free-standing houses and villas to apartment blocks. It's common for accommodation to come furnished or partly furnished.
While there is high-quality rental accommodation in Fiji, expats should be aware that suitable properties aren't always available. Most expats live and work in Nadi, Suva or the island's main resorts. They can be pricey, so expats should try negotiating with their employer for a housing allowance.
Finding accommodation in Fiji
It's a good idea for expats to make use of a real-estate agent in their search for accommodation, as they will have invaluable local knowledge of the housing market and rental process in Fiji. If choosing to go it alone, expats can instead try their luck with online property portals and the classified sections of local newspapers.
Renting accommodation in Fiji
Lease and deposit
When signing a lease, it's important that expats make sure they fully understand the terms of the contract and take note of any special conditions, such as the cost of utilities and whether it's included in the rental price or paid separately.
Expats will need to pay a deposit as well as their first month's rent before moving in. The deposit is usually the equivalent of one month's rent, though some landlords ask for as much as six months.
The full deposit should be returned at the end of the lease period as long as there is no damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear. If any damage remains from a previous tenant, expats should document it thoroughly so that they aren't held responsible.
Safety and security
Home invasions do happen, which makes living in a good area and security features such as high fences and alarm systems important. Many expats also employ guards, which creates the need for a guard house and toilet at the front gate.
Properties also need to be cyclone-proof and have back-up generators for when the power goes out. The electricity supply is unreliable, even in Suva. Voltage variations, surges and blackouts are commonplace, especially during heavy rains.