Renting a Furnished Apartment from a Local Owner

Most tourists who rent a furnished apartment for their stay in Buenos Aires use a rental agency such as Apartments BA or ByT Argentina to arrange their accommodations. But that’s not the only way to do it. You can rent directly from a local owner, which can be cheaper since you eliminate the middleman.

But there are a couple caveats. First, there is extra risk involved in renting from a local owner since they may not have an established reputation, so you may not be confident they are trustworthy. Second, unless the owner is an expat, you will likely need to be able to speak Spanish pretty well to comfortably navigate the process.

Most people find local owners through Craigslist or through postings on various blogs or forums. In my case, I found the apartment I wanted to rent through an advertisement taped to the window of a Palermo store.

The apartment I rented was a furnished one-bedroom on Cerviño in Palermo Chico next to the zoo. That’s a nice, quiet, upscale neighborhood. The apartment measured about 60 square meters. Since it faced an interior courtyard it was dead quiet. Like most buildings in this area, it had 24 hour security.

The price was good, only $600 per month. The agencies list similar apartments for between $900 and $1200.

After seeing the apartment and deciding I would rent it, I arranged to meet the owner a second time to pay, sign the agreement and get the keys. The owner was an upper-class, middle-aged porteña who spoke no English.

After reading and signing the agreement, which was several pages long and in Spanish, we did a time-consuming inventory of every item in the apartment — every glass, knife, fork and light bulb.

I paid in cash, $600 plus a $600 deposit. The owner meticulously scrutinized each bill and wrote each serial number on the contract. Thankfully I had hundreds. If I had twenties we would have been there all afternoon. I’m not sure what the purpose was in recording the serial numbers. I asked the owner and she said that banks sometimes reject US bills so it was wise to keep a record.

Other than the fact that this was a lengthy process, all went smoothly. And during my stay, the owner proved to be both kind and honest. 

After my month was up, the owner came by to return my deposit. But first we had to go through that tedious inventory sheet. To my surprise, four wine glasses were missing. When she saw how surprised I was, she exchanged a glance with the maid, then decided to let it slide. I guess she assumed that the maid either stole or broke the wine glasses, so I was off the hook.

In case you’ve never stayed in an apartment in Buenos Aires, I would like to tell you about a couple things that strike me as strange. First of all, the lights in the hallways are usually set on timers. So when you get out of the elevator, you have to stumble through the dark to find a switch to turn on the lights, which will go out automatically after a minute or two. Second, my apartment had a clothes washer but no dryer. This is quite common. People hang their clothes to dry on the balcony. Also, many apartments, including this one, have wooden roll-down shutters on the outside of the windows. They’re great for keeping the sun out and making the bedroom pitch black.

Filed under: Apartments


  1. CJ Says:

    I promised my amigo Pablo that I would post his friend’s listing here. I haven’t seen the suite but you can view photos at the facebook page listed.

    Apartment for temporary rent in Buenos Aires, Palermo area

    No agency fee! Dealing directly with the landlord.

    Group in Facebook:

    If you are interested pls send me an e mail with your need and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

    email :


  2. Patrick Says:

    Did you ask why banks sometimes refuse US bills?.

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