If you are going to rent for a long time in Nicaragua, you have to have a contract. An attorney will draw up the contract. The contract will outline all the responsibilities, the amount of the security deposit, the date when the rent is due, the date when you are supposed to move in and when you are supposed to move out. The security deposit may be first month, last month or whatever you have negotiated with the owner. Those kinds of contracts are extremely easy to enforce, negotiate, and create. It is not a standard agreement; it is not a standard form that you can pick up at a bookstore. They are all individually done and are always done by an attorney or a notary and all these contracts are notarized.
Therefore, do you need an attorney to get this done? Well, it is like Brandy and Cognac. All Cognacs are Brandies but not all Brandies are Cognacs. In order to be a Cognac, you have to come from Cognac, (a town in France) but it is a Brandy. In Nicaragua, all notaries are attorneys but not all attorneys are notaries. There is no such thing as Notary Public in a bank or in an office. In Latin America, you have to be an attorney for so many years in order to be a notary. So going back to contracts, yes, you will need an attorney, who is also a notary. In order to buy a house or a car, you have to have a notary. If you are going to rent a house, you have to have a contract that is notarized. Hence, everything has to go through an attorney.
If you are renting a house, the owner will let you know the terms of the rent and if you agree, then you can both go to his/her attorney to write the contract and notarize it at the same time. If you do not read Spanish, the law is that you need someone who will translate it for you. If that is the case, then you will need your own attorney.
If you are just walking through the door of a real estate company and you tell them that you are looking for a house to rent, chances are you should also have found an attorney-notary. It that is not the case, you can have the real estate agent supply you one to make sure that you have read and understood the contract that you are going to sign, before you sign it.
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