Most expats in Fiji only move to the country on a short-term assignment, unless they're retiring. Most expat rent rather than buy accommodation in Fiji.
Regardless of what type of accommodation expats are looking for and the duration of their stay, they should familiarise themselves with the property rental processes in Fiji before relocating.
Types of accommodation in Fiji
Expats will find a diverse range of accommodation types in Fiji, from freestanding houses and villas to apartment blocks. It is common for housing to come furnished or semi-furnished.
While there is high-quality rental accommodation in Fiji, expats should note there may be a shortage of suitable properties, especially during the high season. Most expats live and work in Nadi, Suva or the island's main resorts. They can be pricey, though, so it's a good idea to ask for a housing allowance during salary negotiations with their employer.
Finding accommodation in Fiji
It is a good idea for expats to enlist the services of a real-estate agent in their search for accommodation in Fiji. They typically have invaluable knowledge of the local housing market and rental processes. If choosing to go it alone, expats can try their luck with online property portals.
Renting accommodation in Fiji
When signing a lease, expats must thoroughly read the agreement to ensure they fully understand the terms of the contract. They should also note any special conditions, such as the cost of utilities and whether it's included in the rental price or billed separately.
House hunters will need to pay a deposit and the first month's rent before moving in to secure a property. The deposit is usually the equivalent of one month's rent, though some landlords may 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. Expats are encouraged to take inventory of the state of the property before moving in to ensure they are not erroneously held responsible for any damage.
Safety and security
Safety in Fiji can be an issue for expats, thanks to the wealth gap in the country, which has driven crime up. Home invasions happen, so expats must prioritise living in a good area with robust security features such as fences and burglar alarms. Many expats also employ guards, which creates the need for a guard house and toilet at the front gate.
Properties should also be cyclone-proof and have back-up generators, as Fiji’s electricity supply is unreliable, even in Suva. Voltage variations, surges and blackouts are commonplace, especially during heavy rains.