Brief description of the Rental Process/Lease
Generally, it is the Landlord who determines the contents of a Lease Agreements with the limitations of the law. A contract will protect you against possible defaults and noncompliances. To be informed don the laws that regulate the contracts you may contact the Direction of Leasing at the Ministry of Housing, where you will be given the information.
The current lease law in our country regulates the leases up to $150.00. If you tenant is delinquent in rent payments, the law allows you to present a claim for eviction at the MIVI (Ministry of Housing) and at the Corregiduria (Sheriff). Your request shall depend on the time it takes the authorities in locating the residence and become acquainted with the case. If you want to terminate your lease, regardless if the tenant is paying or not, the process may take longer and the tenant can be awarded between 1 to 6 months grace period to vacate the premises.
Residential lease contracts, generally contain the following information:
- Names and signatures of Landlord and Tenant
- Date in which the contract is executed, and the dates of commencement and end of the term in which the Tenant has the right to lease and occupy the property.
- The correct address of the dwelling that is being leased
- The monthly lease amount the Tenant must pay
- Lease expiration date, means of payment (check, cash and the day or grace period), as well as the late fees and penalties for NSF checks.
- The amount of security deposit or advanced rent the Tenant shall pay and the circumstances in which the Landlord may retain or return these funds
- The time which shall be allowed to give notice of lease termination
- The address to which the notices shall be sent and how all the processes shall be handled (mínimum 30 days)
Many lease agreements also make reference to:
- The responsible party (Tenant or Landlord) of payment of utilities such as wáter, electric, telephone, and other public services
- The possibility the Tenant may sublet the premises
- The number of occupants allowed to occupy the premises
- The responsible party (Tenant or Landlord), of assuming the costs of certain repairs
- Whether nor not the property may be used for any commercial use, opérate a business out the property, automobile repairs,e etc.
- All pet policies and guest policies, parking policies, etc.
- All modifications or improvements the Tenant is authorized to make and all restrictions to such
- The times where the Landlord may enter the premises (according to local laws)
- Times where the Tenant shall grant access to exterminators, painters, or other repair or maintenance personnel.
- The spaces allowed to Tenant storage and all the restrictions as to the ítems that can or cannot be stored
- The penalties for late payments and the recovery of legal fees in case of default resulting in eviction
Every lease agreement shall include the circumstances in which a Landlord is allowed to increase the rent, according to current laws. Also the possibility of including a revisión clause for the rates in the lease agreement (this pertains to utilities and maintenance upkeep). Such clause allows Landlord to increase the rent by a pass-through amount, a specific amount or an established percentage for the increase in costs of public services, property taxes.
It is possible that in some instances, the Tenant and the Landlord may modify the lease agreement by agenda, i.e., the person decides to share the premises with another person. A tenant may want to sublet the unit prior to the expiration of the lease to move to another city.
It is always safer to see a local lawyer draft and or review your lease agreement. The MIVI has lease forms that can also be downloaded. You can also use your own form as long as it meets the requirements of Panama law.
To finalize, all contracts under $150 per month shall be presented to MIVI in the case of Default. All others shall be filed through a Civil Claim in the corresponding judicial court.
This document was written in Spanish by Julio Espinosa-Brown. A local lawyer, fully bi-lingual who can assist you with any questions or providing you the forms you need in order to rent.
Julio César ESPINOSA BROWN, Esq, B.A.
Edificio Don Alejo, Oficina No. 8
(Edificio de la Caja de Ahorros y El Constructor),
Boquete, Chiriquí, República Panamá,
Teléfono (507) 720-2941 y Móvil (507) 6677-5077.
Ministry of Housing (MIVI) Requirements to Register a Lease Agreement
- Buy a Lease Agreement format and Consignment of Deposit. There are three kinds of contracts. Type A (Residential up to $150 p/m) Type B (Residential over $150 p/m) and Type C Commercial.
Must be filled out in ink with legible writing or by typewriter or computer
No liquid paper/ mistakes or typos or corrections
- The Tenant and Landlord must sign the contract, and any addendums signed on the same date in which the contract was executed, including all copies. All copies must match and must include the Cedula or Passport number. The Consignment of Deposit form shall only be signed by the Landlord, in original and copies
- Along with the contract and consignment of deposit, you shall have the following documentation:
- For nationals – a copy of the cedula and co-signer shall there be one. For foreigners, the copy of the passport, with legible information and must be valid
- Current copy of the deed or title of the property or bring a certification from Public Registry where it reflects the owner of the fine.
- If the owner of the finca is not signing the leasing documents, whoever is acting as the administration shall present a POA, duly notarized by the owner of the finca with a copy of both cedula
- If the Landlord’s administrator or Landlord is a corporation, the RUC with DV shall be written in all documents including the lease and consignment of deposit. A current copy of the Pacto Social (Corporation Documents), certification of the Public Registry of the corporation showing the legal representative and good standing of the corporation
- When the property has been rented before, instead of the deed or title, attach a copy of the prior lease as long as it is the same finca, apartment or commercial place, and the same owner or legal representative, otherwise, you must present a change of administration
- If you have an outstanding mortgage on the property, in order to be able to lease, you must present an authorization from the lending institution showing the finca number, with the book and page
- If the property has a mortgage, bring the authorization letter from the bank
- In case the transfer of ownership of the finca is in process, you must present the purchase and sale contract and the occupational permit of the property, if the property is a new dwelling.
- Landlord or tenant are obligated to make a deposit equal to one-month assessment of the rental. See clauses in the contract. This deposit may be made by cash, certified check or cashier’s check to the Ministerio de Vivienda (Ministry of Housing). If there are variations in the lease assessment, according to the years, the deposit shall be made based on the last year
- In case where the leases are exempt of this deposit, you must present a certification issued by the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Relations), which certifies the Landlord as a Diplomat
- For extensions, compare the form, fill in and have both parties sign. Attach copies of the contract that’s being extended, its attachments shall there be any, and copies of cedula or passports. Shall there be an assessment document, attach it to the consignment of deposit along with the fee in cash, certified or cashier’s check issued to MIVI
- Commercial contracts and extensions are exempt from paying the Timbres (Doc stamps)
- Timbres or Documentary stamps may be purchased at different banks
- Real Estate brokers that present contracts to be registered must also bring a copy of their RE license.
Note: All forms and requirements can be downloaded at www.mivi.gob.pa We do not accept typos, mistakes, corrections or liquid paper.
Download the form below:
Contrato Tipo B
Requisitos Nuevos Arrendamiento