The Difficult Game of finding a long-term apartment in Buenos Aires
[Article updated Sat July 18th 2009]
Renting an apartment long-term (i.e. for more than 3 months) can be a difficult game for foreigners (extranjeros) in Buenos Aires. Firstly, the more reasonable apartment prices that locals pay are usually not easily available for extranjeros (which is why the more expensive furnished “vacation” apartments do such a good trade), as strictly you need a guarantor (garantia) to be able to rent.
The garantia is someone who owns property in Buenos Aires that can sign for you to guarantee the contract, to safeguard against your running away or trashing the apartment, etc. In addition, by going through this local process you are almost always expected to sign a rental agreement for 2 years, although there have been cases where, even if a contract is signed for the full period, this clause will not always be strictly enforced if you decide to move on early (say, after a year). Although you probably shouldn’t rely on it being possible.
But fret not! It turns out that a garantia is not always required, and 2 year contacts are not always the order of the day. You can often speak to the owner (dueño) and try to reach an agreement, which may involve any, or a mixture of, the following to bring them around:
- Stumping up a sizable deposit (but please make sure it is returnable!)
- Paying a lot of the rent up front
- Offering a little over the asked monthly rental rate
A lot of owners (and almost all rental agencies) still won’t play ball, but it is worth trying until you strike gold. Be persistent and don’t get downhearted, and in the end you’ll find an apartment owner who is willing to work with you.
The Number 1 Buenos Aires Apartment Search Resource: Clarín
If you speak passable Spanish (or failing that, find a local/translator to help you out), almost certainly the best place to look for apartment rentals is the Clarín newspaper website  (or buy the newspaper on a Saturday). Here you will find the best bargains, at the prices that locals pay:
Then search for the type of housing you want to rent, and in which neighborhoods. Once the search results come up, you can then order by price or most recent listings, and filter by number of rooms (ambientes) or bedrooms (dormitorios) etc, to help find the type of apartment you are looking for.
However, this method really only works well if you are in Argentina. The usual process is to buy Clarín (or search their website every day), find a list apartments you like the sound of, and then turn up at the address and viewing time detailed (sometimes waiting in line on the street!) for each one. If you are currently in another country, you really only have two options, and both involving getting on a plane and coming down here:
- Either come to Buenos Aires on a “pre-visit”, staying in a furnished vacation apartment and spending each day checking Clarín and looking for places to rent, then renting somewhere ready for when you make the real move, or;
- Go full steam ahead and make the permanent move right away, staying in a vacation apartment until you find your long-term rental.
Additional Apartment Search Resources
There is of course a “third-way”. which is to look to rent a room in someone’s apartment, rather than one to yourself. This is a lot easier, but obviously not for everyone. Probably the best places to look for this kind of thing, are Craigslist Buenos Aires  and CompartoDepto . And some other useful website resources for your apartment search are as follows:
- La Nacion Classifieds  (2nd most popular daily in Argentina. Whereas Clarín is the mainstream tabloid, La Nacion the more serious, more right-leaning broadsheet). There may be some repitition between Clarin and La Nacion listings
- www.BuscaInmueble.com 
- www.ArgenProp.com.ar 
Final Buenos Aires Apartment Rental Hints and Tips
Find an Argentine friend to help you out with the whole Buenos Aires apartment  search process. Having a native around will not only help with the potential language barrier and aid with understanding the local process and customs, but also in any kind of transaction here having a local on your side opens up a lot more doors, plus they can be on the watch for any potential scams etc (although in that case, you’ll obviously also need to trust that your Argentine friend is on the level too).
The importance of local help cannot be stressed enough – so do your best to make some contacts here as quickly as possible. If you can’t find a suitable Argentine, then perhaps a long-term expat or immigrant will be able to help you out.
Also, another good tip is to try to look for properties that are being advertised for rent by the owners themselves, and NOT by one of the Inmobiliarias (real estate/rental agents), as these big agencies will not only likely be more expensive, but more importantly, they will almost certainly not be reasonable with people that don’t have the magic garantia. Meanwhile, owners will probably be open to discussion, especially if you have that local contact to bargain with them, and can offer some kind of extra financial incentive, as previously mentioned.
The best of luck to anyone looking for long term apartment rentals in Buenos Aires. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. The idea is that other readers in the Buenos Aires community who have experience in this area pass that on by helping out where possible with any questions asked.