Trinidad is the largest island in the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, off Venezuela's coast in the southern Caribbean. With a Creole culture incorporating African, European, East Indian and Chinese traditions, it’s known for its distinct cuisine, calypso and soca music, and boisterous Carnival celebration. It's also home to diverse flora and fauna, including some 400 bird species.
Trinidad and Tobago’s southerly location keeps temperatures consistent year-round, with a daily average of 27°C (80°F).
The rainy season (June to November) and the dry season (December to May) are the major weather variations. Average humidity hovers around 75%. The high season (roughly February to March) sees hordes of visitors arrive for Carnival.
The shoulder seasons (October to mid-December and April to June) mean fewer crowds and cheaper accommodations, but a good chance of some rain. As the islands sit outside the hurricane belt, severe storms are very uncommon.
Trinidad and Tobago dollar
Foreign real estate buyers require an Alien Landholding License to purchase more than 1 acre of land for residential purposes or more than 5 acres of land for commercial purposes in Trinidad and Tobago.
Licenses are granted almost automatically for property in Designated Development Areas, but are dealt with on a case by case basis in other areas
Once you have made an offer on a property and that offer has been accepted you will typically be required to pay a 10% deposit which will be held in escrow. If you require an Alien Landholding License, ensure that the Sales agreement is only entered into subject to the license being granted and that thorough due diligence is conducted by a local lawyer.
Once you own a property there is a land and building tax to be paid. This is based on the potential rental value of the property and the valuations are carried out by the Ministry of Finance. Valuations are based on location, size and type of property. When purchasing a property it is a good idea to check with the seller what they are paying for this tax, as all properties will be different. There are no exceptions to this; all property owners must pay this tax.
Buyers are required to pay stamp duty which ranges from 0% to 7.5%, plus legal fees which typically amount to 1.5% of the purchase price.
There is also an annual 3% real estate tax on residential property.
When renting a property in Trinidad and Tobago, you will find that the law is on your side. It has been geared up to ensure that all tenants receive a fair deal from their landlord, although any disputes can take a while to resolve.
Those who are renting a furnished house and paying a monthly rent of less than $1000 or an unfurnished property at less than $1500 a month will find that their home is subject to a rent restriction. This means that any rent adjustments have to be approved by the Rent Assessment Board, and both the landlord and the tenant have the right to request this.
All landlords and tenants, no matter what monthly rent is involved, must register with the Rent Assessment Board. A landlord needs to do this only once, but if a tenant moves to a new property he must register again. Anyone who is unregistered will find that they have no rights under the law.
Deposits and rents have to be paid in advance. The terms for these will vary from property to property and should be specified in the tenancy agreement, although should be clearly explained prior to the contract being signed.
Most tenancy agreements are for a period of one year. If the tenant decides he wishes to stay on in the property he must inform his landlord in writing before his current agreement runs out. If a new contract is not agreed the tenant may be served with a notice to leave the property. In the event of a tenant refusing to leave, the landlord can apply to the courts for an eviction notice. The police will then be able to help the landlord to remove the unwanted tenant.
However, it can take several months for the whole process to be carried out, so some landlords will find it easier to try to negotiate with the tenant first. The legal system in Trinidad and Tobago is slow with respect to tenancy issues, and cases about rent disputes have been known to last for years if the Rent Assessment Board does not reach a solution and the case has to go to court.
Some apartment blocks will have shared services such as cleaners, particularly for communal areas, but this will be specified in the contract. Those who wish to hire domestic staff for cleaning and gardening should have no trouble doing so, although it is advisable to ensure that you obtain references.
You will be required to pay a refundable deposit and pay small admin charges to your agent. The Landlord pays the Agents Fee.