Property Guide

Short-term or long-term, there are many options to suit almost every budget.

Barbados has property options to suit almost everyone, even for those on tight budgets. While the Island won't win any awards for low cost living, digital nomads are often surprised to find rental prices not too dissimilar to what they pay at home, or in other destinations popular with digital nomads.

For example, a furnished two or three bedroom apartment in Cairns, Australia may cost the equivalent of BDS $2,800 a month. In Barbados, the same apartment may cost BDS $2,100 a month. [1]

People get the impression that living on the Island is expensive because of the Caribbean's association with sandy beaches and luxurious lifestyles. It's a façade. Truthfully, most people living on the Island – locals and residents alike – lead normal lives like everyone else.

It is the peace and tranquility offered in a place like Barbados that makes it so uniquely different and attractive; thousands of miles away and perfectly secluded from the chaos of bigger countries.

If you are looking for short-term accommodations (i.e. less than six months), it is usually best to look on Airbnb, especially during the low tourism season where you can find very good deals.

Some landlords switch to short-term rentals during the high tourism season to maximise yield. In many cases, they will engage a realty agency to market their property, and also sometimes to manage the property on their behalf.

If you don't want to use Airbnb, take a look at short-term rentals with a realty agency such as Seaside Realty. However, take note that not all realty agencies list or advertise short-term accommodations.

For long-term rentals (i.e. more than six months), look at property options with either Terra Caribbean or Seaside Realty. We mention these two particular realty agencies because in our experience they are helpful and responsive.

Most landlords renting property on a long-term basis (i.e. more than six months) require a security deposit equivalent to one months' rent. However, some landlords also require tenants to pay the last month rent in advance as well.

If the terms of a tenancy agreement would require you to pay the last month upfront, we recommend finding another property instead. We do not consider it to be reasonable for a landlord to expect a tenant to take on all the risk in connection with a tenancy. It is farier to expect risks to be shared evenly between both parties.

Electricity

There is only one supplier of electricity on the Island: Barbados Light & Power ("BLPC").

As they have a mononpoly, the BLPC is regulated by the Fair Trading Commission, and any price adjustments made by the BLPC require the prior approval of the Commission.

Foreign nationals (except permanent residents) [1] are required to pay a security deposit of approximately BDS $500, but the exact amount depends on the breaker size and/or historical usage levels at the property. [2]

If you do not have a local bank account in Barbados, the main way to pay your electricity bills is via SurePay. You would need to visit an ATM in Barbados [3] and withdraw the amount you need to pay, and then visit any SurePay location in Barbados to pay your electricity bill using your assigned electricity account number.

To sign up for electricity service, you will need a permission letter signed by your landlord.

Broadband and Mobile

There are only two providers in Barbados: Flow and Digicel. In our experience, Flow is more reliable. However, both providers offer fast fibre broadband and has extensive 4G coverage across the Island.

Given that we only have two providers in Barbados, you won't be surprised to know pricing is usually similar between both companies.

To sign up for broadband service, you will need a permission letter signed by your landlord. If you are signing up with Flow, they provide a branded permission letter that your landlord can print and sign.

It is not possible to order a mobile SIM online. If you need one, you will need to visit a Flow or Digicel store in person. Both companies have stores at the Sheraton Mall, Sky Mall and The Dome.

Barbados is a member of the North America Numbering Plan. To learn more about this and how customers are charged for phone calls in Barbados, read our guide on how phone calls work.

Regardless of the property or location you are interested in, there are some things to consider carefully:

1. Does the property have air conditioning?

People usually want air conditioning at first, especially if they are coming from a cold climate, but may use it less as time passes. Experts suggest that it takes most people a few weeks to physically acclimatise after moving to a hotter climate. However, it probably takes much longer to get used to those temperatures.

Depending on your tolerance for hot weather, you may eventually not need to use air conditioning – or only need to use it during the wet season when humidity is highest. Some people get used to the temperatures after just a few months. For others, it takes several years. But for some, they never get used to it and always want air conditioning.

Therefore you may want to think about finding a property with air conditioning in at least the bedroom.

2. Does the property have bug screens in the windows?

Due to the hot climate in Barbados, mosquitos are active all year round. You may wish to rent a property with bug screens in the windows. They are not too expensive, so there is no excuse for any landlord who is serious about renting not to have them installed.

Mosquitos can be a nuisance without bug screens installed. Even if you do not normally react to mosquito bites, a very small number of mosquitos in Barbados are infected with a disease called dengue fever, so it is advisable to take reasonable precautions.

3. Is it the right time to rent a property on a long-term basis?

If you plan to rent a property on a long-term basis (i.e. more than six months), you may want to spend the first few months in an Airbnb or a hotel, to get your bearings and to discover what side of the Island you prefer.

Remember, having a vacation in a country is not the same as living in a country.

Is the tap water safe to drink in Barbados?

Yes, the water supply is safe and refreshing to drink.

Barbados is a limestone island. Most of the water supply is pumped from wells within natural coral aquifers, which is then treated with chlorine to comply with World Health Organisation standards.