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Housing in St Maarten

Buying a Property

In St Maarten, there are no restrictions on ownership of private property by non-residents. A foreigner must only present his/her passport plus another identification with picture. The real estate market in Philipsburg can be volatile.

The first step to purchasing property in St Maarten is to appoint a real estate agent. There is no need to hire a lawyer, since the notaries in the island takes care of all legal matters, including due diligence. Notaries are appointed by the Dutch government and mandated by law to serve both parties.

When a property has been selected, make an offer to the seller and negotiate. A preliminary purchase deed will then be drawn up and signed. A deposit of 10% to 15% of the purchase price is expected within seven days of signing.

The closing date should be stated in the purchase deed, before which the property is registered to the Register of Real Estate Property. At the same time, the notary will be responsible for checking if the property is clear of any charges. Once its status has been verified, the deed will be notarised and transferred to you from the seller. The last thing to do is complete all necessary payments and closing costs. It may then be arranged to have the title mailed to the new owner’s home.

There are three procedures to register property, which can take around 32 days to complete.

Renting a Property

Like the rest of the Netherlands Antilles, the law in St Maarten is pro-tenant, because although rents are freely negotiated, it is difficult to evict tenants.

Rents are freely negotiated. As with most Caribbean markets, there are two segments, the foreign market for tourists and expatriates, and the local market. There is no rent control in either market.

For long term leases (a year or more), a deposit of one to two months’ rent is normally obtained from the tenant prior to occupancy. For short-term rentals (a week to less than a year), deposits are usually 30% to 50% of the entire rent.

Rental agreements in St Maarten usually cover one year (this is considered a long lease), with automatic renewal after the first year. You should require the tenant to confirm the renewal two months before the expiration of the agreement.





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