We've been busy helping friends to find their dream rental property in the Polis area, and it is interesting to see how the market has changed in the last couple of years since we arrived. There appear to be fewer properties on the estate agents' books, and - of course - when you deal with an estate agent who is on commission from the property owner, there is not much room for negotiation on price. The agent normally takes the deposit on the property (almost always a month's rent) as their commission, and obviously the more the property is rented for, the larger the commission.
They have seen properties with the help of estate agents and also properties that local Cypriots have known about. They have even seen properties where a "For Rent" sign has been placed on the wall of the house in question. Some owners are prepared to do a deal, some doggedly refuse to lower the price (with the result that the property remains empty) and others may or may not do a deal, depending on the way the wind blows.
What is also becoming apparent, at least in this area, is that many of the properties are only available fully furnished, which will not suit people with a container of their own furniture en route from the UK. Some owners will let partly furnished, and some will remove the furniture and put it in storage. What is without doubt is the fact there are many properties available for rent, and it is just a matter of finding them. Private advertisements on the various expat forums sometimes bring positive results, and Angloinfo can be a particularly good source of properties.
Of course, when you see a house that ticks all the boxes, there is a temptation to just offer the asking price. Head v. Heart comes into play here. Have you made a second or third visit (late at night, early in the morning or on a weekend) to check on barking dogs, neighbours who party 24/7 or to find out whether the local quad/motor bikes enjoy racing past the house at all sorts of times? What is your gut feeling about your prospective landlord? Is he or she likely to allow you your privacy? And will they sort out minor repairs when problems crop up? It may be their house but it is going to be your home.
All in all a tricky business and there is always going to be an element of luck in it. What we all hope and pray is that it is good luck and not bad luck. The property section in my guide (both buying and renting) I hope will help you on your way.