Renting an apartment in Portugal is definitely an option if you’re looking for a short-term adventure or to get a taste of the country before the big decision. It can also be very useful while in the viewing part of the buying process. Either way, it can get a little confusing, so we have assembled a thorough guide to make everything easier for you. When you choose to work with the rental service of Pearls, we take the whole procedure off your hands.
When making this decision, there are obviously many things to consider, such as:
There are many online platforms to search for apartments in Portugal. Websites like Idealista and Imovirtual provide you with the largest range of houses, but the vast majority of them are managed by real estate agents and/or companies. This is the case for another popular website – Remax. All of the properties on the website are their own. If you’re looking for short-term rental, then platforms like Airbnb and Booking are your best choice, since the minimum duration of a typical rental contract in Portugal is one year.
When coming to Portugal from a different country, working with a real estate agent is your best option, due to the many barriers. However, if you believe that you can do it by yourself, Facebook Marketplace and OLX are the main platforms where individual people put up their properties for rent. This is, in most cases, cheaper, but can quickly turn into a headache. If you just want to get familiarised with the market, we recommend you look through all of the websites mentioned.
As previously stated, working with a real estate agent or company is definitely recommended for foreigners. Agents have a thorough knowledge of the market and access to hidden offers. On top of that, when you work with a long-term rental service, like Pearls of Portugal, the bureaucracy is taken off your hands, you save a lot of time, plus we offer help with setting up utilities, documents and we give you personalized recommendations.
Most landlords rent their apartment through real estate companies, so making a deal person-to-person is a bit difficult. You should also be aware that there may be a language barrier and possible preconceptions about foreigners that can result in an inflation of the price or the rental conditions (which we’ll look at in a bit).
The documentation you need to rent depends a little on the seller or the rental company but these are the usual:
This is something that should mainly depend on your living preferences and on your budget. Porto and Lisbon are amazing, big cities but, precisely because of that, they have become quite expensive. The interior regions of Portugal are the cheapest but can be dull if you’re looking for a more active life. If you were enchanted by Portugal due to the tales of amazing weather and sandy beaches all year round, then the coastal South is perfect for you.
You should also get informed (through Facebook groups or online communities, for example) on where the communities of people from your country are located. Meeting people that have gone through the same process is the biggest help of all.
For example, there’s a quite big Brazilian community in Braga; a West-Asian one in Lisbon; an English one in the Algarve (great for retirees), and so on. When you work with Pearls, you tell us all about your preferences and conditions and we point you to the areas that make the most sense for you.
You probably have the basics of what you want in mind already: apartment or house; outdoor space or not; garage or not; etc. What can make Portuguese listings confusing sometimes is the typology of the number of rooms. Nevertheless, when you get the hang of it, it is quite simple.
You have probably wondered what T0, T1, and T2 mean. Basically, the “T” stands for “tipologia” and the number represents the number of bedrooms in the house – not including the living room, kitchen, and bathrooms. When listings include a “+1” (like T1+1), it means the apartment has one extra small room, usually meant for storage and without any windows – meaning, basically, that it can’t be a bedroom.
This is a pretty simple step when renting. These are the basics when thinking about the condition of a property:
Also, although not related to the home itself, you should take into account its immediate surrounding area. Closeness to main roads, train lines or airports can make it quite noisy, as well as places known for their nightlife scene. This is a prevalent issue in some popular neighborhoods in Lisbon, like Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré, for example.
As stated before, renting prices in Portugal differ greatly from city to city. The difference is especially big between the coast and the interior regions of the country. Rent in major cities, like Porto and Lisbon, has been going up consistently. Other prevalent cities like Braga, Faro, Coimbra and Setúbal have also seen rises in the past few months.
The more you go into the interior of the country, the cheaper rent gets.
PAA (“Programa de Arrendamento acessível”) is an accessible rent program designed to help lower-income people and displaced students. It grants IRS or IRC exemption for rents from contracts concluded within its scope.
The rent must be at least 20% lower than a reference value calculated on the basis of various factors, such as the area of the accommodation, the median price published by INE, the typology and other specific characteristics of the accommodation. The term of the lease must be a minimum of 5 years (or 9 months in the case of displaced university students).
Anybody can apply for the program; however, in order to be accepted your earnings must be below a certain value – which also depends on various factors, such as the city/region the property is located in, if you have children or not, etc. You can simulate your case here.
A typical rental contract in Portugal usually has the duration of a year and is renewable after that. However, this can be negotiated. What commonly varies the most is:
You can see an example of a contract here. As we said before, be aware of people taking advantage of you due to your foreigner status and your lack of knowledge.
Legislation in Portugal protects tenants in various situations, such as:
Tenants must also abide by the rules. These could be specific to your contract but there are some general duties, such as:
Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts now!
English • Portuguese • Spanish • German • Italian • French
Sign up for our newsletter and don’t miss the latest news and offers!