Furnished or Unfurnished
A furnished property (mobilada) usually includes all kitchen appliances (tumble-driers and other appliances may not be provided but may be negotiated prior to signing the lease). A television set is generally included. A property described as “furnished and equipped”, or mobilada e equipada, will contain all the basic equipment necessary for daily living: cooking pots and pans, kitchen utensils, cutlery, plates, glasses, towels and bed linen, iron and ironing board, house cleaning kit, etc. Some of these items are often low to medium quality. It is therefore a good idea to bring/buy your own towels and bed linen, some preferred cookware and small electric items, as well as power plug adapters if applicable. The style and standard of furniture vary - some homes are furnished with classical or “Imperial” style furniture in dark wood. Modern apartments tend to be furnished in a more contemporary style.
An unfurnished property (sem mobília) often contains built-in kitchen units and several major appliances, as well as built-in wardrobes in some or all of the bedrooms. Items such as light fixtures and curtain rails are often already installed or their installation can be negotiated with the Landlord.
Heating & Air Conditioning
Although Portuguese winters are mild, some houses suffer from humidity and most of them do not have central heating. When available, beware of central heating energy consumption and costs. Alternatives may be portable heaters.
During the summer months, temperatures are rarely uncomfortably hot and the climate is not humid. Portuguese homes are designed to remain cool in hot weather, usually having relatively small windows and tile or marble floors. The Portuguese habit of keeping the window blinds or shutters closed during the day also helps to maintain a cool temperature indoors. Built-in air conditioning is not very common. Mobile air conditioning units (quite expensive) and electric fans are widely available in supermarkets and electrical goods stores during the summer.
Rental market basics
The rental market in Portugal is largely focused on short-term holiday rentals in the coastal resorts and larger metropolitan areas. In recent years, Portugal has established quite attractive tax benefits for foreigners, what has had great impact on the real estate market. As Porto, Lisbon, and Algarve are also preferred travel destinations, the increase of tourism demand reduced significantly the number of available properties on the rental market for long terms agreements.
As long/medium term apartment or house rentals are harder to find, this means that nice properties can be off the market very quickly.
The type of housing will vary between apartments, villas or condominiums. Rates will depend upon location, amenities and condition of the rental property.
Apartment living is popular amongst the Portuguese. However, it should be noted that many apartment buildings have less than adequate soundproofing. Many houses and apartments have balconies, which may need childproofing to protect young children.
It is important to have a signed lease agreement that includes every detail of the lease including termination clauses. A deposit equivalent to one month's rent is usually required, plus one month's rent in advance. As a foreigner you must have a Portuguese guarantor in order to enter a lease agreement. The guarantor will guarantee in writing that the lease payments will be made should the renter default. As some tenants may experience difficulties finding a guarantor, some landlords may be willing to accept, exceptionally and in exchange, advanced payment of several monthly rents that should be considered refundable deposit. To sign the rental agreement a copy of your passport or ID card and Portuguese Tax Number (NIF) are minimum requirements. Always ensure you fully understand what you are signing.
Rental process & rules
Rental Agreement Termination Terms
Generally speaking, after one third of the duration of the contract, the Tenant may cancel the lease at any time, according to the following: - Lease agreement up to 1 year- the Tenant can terminate the lease with a pre-notice of 60 days - Lease agreement over 1 year - the Tenant can terminate the lease with a pre-notice of 120 days Letters of termination should be sent to the Landlord by registered mail with a form of acknowledgement of receipt - carta registada com aviso de receção - and in Portuguese.
You may try to negotiate a diplomatic or “break” clause, allowing the lease to be terminated within 60 days.
Rental Agreement Terms
You should read carefully the terms of the contract submitted to you. As long as the law is complied with, Landlord and Tenant may agree on the contract’s terms and clauses. Landlords usually ask for the payment of three months’ rent with the signature of the contract, referring to the first, last and deposit. Unless otherwise agreed, rents are paid one month ahead before the 8th – i.e. until 8 June you pay July and so forth - so the last month is always covered. Rent payment is usually done by bank transfer or according to the conditions defined in the contract. The security deposit, equal to one-month rent, is required the date the contract is signed. This deposit should be refunded, deducted of any justifiable expenses, within 60 days of termination of contract.
Some landlords are still reluctant to waive the requirement of a guarantor. With expats, one can propose a comfort letter or company declaration confirming the employee's assignment duration and, possibly, the annual salary. Some landlords may also be willing to accept payment of several rents in advance as additional deposit in exchange for a guarantor.
Rent increases should be specified in the contract. Otherwise, the rent may be increased according to the legal yearly update, published each October for the following year (for 2018 the annual update rent coefficient was 1.0112, that is, an increase of up to 1.12%). The first increase can take place one year after the contract is made effective and yearly from then onwards. For this purpose, the Landlord must communicate in writing, with a minimum pre-notice of 30 days. Please note that each contract is unique and all clauses must be very clear to you when you sign it. For furnished properties, an inventory list signed by both parties at check-in is annexed to the lease. Minor adjustments may occur during the first month after check-in, but make sure you list necessary changes before signing the lease.
Real estate agents share property database – it may happen that someone else is interested in the same property that the agent is not aware of. If required to secure a property, the payment of one month’s rent upfront will be considered the deposit. Ensure you get a receipt for this advanced payment.
Multi-risk insurance is mandatory at every house but it will only cover walls, fire, and natural disaster. Any other insurance is the liability of the tenant.
Real estate agent fees, if any, are supported by the landlord.
Parish Council Residence Certificate
A residence certificate (Atestado de Residência) may be required by a number of entities as proof of your Portuguese residence address for several situations, such as Customs clearing. This document is issued by the residence Parish Council (Junta de Freguesia) of your residence area in Portugal, attesting residency and stating specific dates. Requirements and processing times to obtain the different types of residence certificates differ between parish council offices.