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Nitzia Chifundo of Panama Sol Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
By Panamanian law the rental contract has to be written in Spanish, as Spanish the official language. The owner or real estate agent can have the text translated for you to read carefully.  However, the Spanish version will always control and would be the only one used for any other legal purposes.
 
Albert Obbens – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Spanish being the official language, it is logical that every official contract is in Spanish. If you cannot understand Spanish it is very wise not to sign any English contract, just read it and ask somebody who can speak both languages to check if the English and Spanish contract is the same. Unfortunately people regularly sign a Spanish contract without being sure that it is the same as the read in English. Regularly we have seen clients in our law firm who were taken for a ride by mostly other English speaking house owners. If you want to be more sure, have a lawyer help you check the contracts and register at a notary. The costs of the lawyer including the notary is around $150 but you save yourself a lot of trouble later.
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Definitely the legal one is always the one in Spanish.  If you don't speak Spanish, the best thing to do is to take the contract to a professional, licensed translator to make sure the translation is 100% accurate.
 
This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have a professional and recognized real estate agent, one especially familiarized with Panamanian housing law.  Take special care in recording every detail of the apartment and what are you expected to do, before, during and after your rental period of time.  There can be penalties if you cancel your contract before the term is complete. Recheck your plumbing, electricity, doors, bathroom and every possible thing that later on can give you a problem.  It is always the best idea is to  sign for one year and then extend every year, if you plan to stay that long.  There are also apartments rented for short periods of time, but some of these are more expensive.
JuliAnne Murphy of Panama Pacifico – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In Panama, the official language of the country is Spanish. While whomever rents you the apartment may provide you a contract in English so you can read it, the official contract has to be in Spanish per Panamanian law.  So, normally, you will sign both.  If you are not a Spanish speaker, it's VERY important to hire someone you trust or that comes recommended, to verify that the Spanish contract reads exactly like the English contract before you sign it.  Normally the Spanish contract will be recorded with the Ministry of Housing (yes, even for rentals) and if there are any legal matters later, that's the one they will refer to.
 

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