Located in southwestern Europe, Portugal has a rich cultural heritage, architectural marvels, white sand beaches, progressive educational and health infrastructure, and more. All these factors make Portugal a great place to live in. In this article, we will take you through how to rent in Portugal and live your dream life in the country.
There are many places in the country where you may choose to live. Some famous places include Lisbon, Porto, Braga, and the Algarve region. In addition to this, you may also choose to live in smaller towns in the countryside.
Things you should consider before renting:
Before you finalize where you want to rent property in Portugal, you should consider the following aspects:
- The area you would want to live in
- Your budget for rent
- The rental market in the areas of your choice
- Property availability in your selected area
- The type of space you need – apartment, student accommodation, or a house
- The type of property- unfurnished, fully furnished or semi-furnished
After weighing up these factors, you can decide as to whether to rent or buy the property.
In this section of the article, we will cover the following things you need to consider:
- Renting in Portugal
- What are the most popular places to rent in Portugal?
- Which is better – buying or renting?
- Types of rental properties in Portugal
- How to find a place to rent in Portugal?
- Student housing in Portugal
- How do you rent a property in Portugal
- Rental expenses in Portugal
- Social housing in Portugal
- Contracts for tenants in Portugal
- Renting out your own house in Portugal
- Useful tips for renters in Portugal
Renting in Portugal
Most people in Portugal (over 75 percent) choose to buy a property in Portugal. However, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, renting in Portugal has significantly shot up, as more and more families prefer renting over buying a property.
If you are an expat looking to rent a property in Portugal, it is always better to go through real estate agencies, as they are more accustomed to the law of the land, speak the same language, and know the area. You can also directly get in touch with the property owner to finalize your rental. The expat community in Portugal is often found in the country’s bigger cities. So if you plan to move to Portugal from a different country, you may want to stay in cities like Lisbon and Porto.
What are the most popular places to rent in Portugal?
Renowned for its fantastic beaches, sunny weather almost all year round, charming resorts, and properties, Portugal has many places to rent a property and settle down. But if you are an expat, you would most likely stay in the cities in Portugal that have convenient work and educational opportunities. This section will take you through Portugal’s most popular areas in the country to rent.
The capital city of Portugal, Lisbon, has cemented itself as the home of many expats and digital nomads. The city is populated with world-class schools, hospitals, restaurants, and properties to buy and rent. No wonder Lisbon is the most expensive place to rent in Portugal. As per recent reports, the average rental price is more than €13 per square meter. On the other hand, as per Numbeo, a one-bedroom apartment can go up for rent between around €800 to €1,200 or more per month.
Cost of living in Portugal
|One-way ticket (local transport)||€1.95|
|Monthly pass (regular price)||€40|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||€1.92|
|Cost of utilities||Price|
|Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 85m² apartment per month||€127.35|
|Prepaid mobile tariff local for 1 min||€0.21|
|Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, Cable/ADSL) per month||€36.17|
|Preschool (or Kindergarten), full day, private, monthly for one child||€402.77|
|International primary school, yearly for one child||€9,197.42|
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal. It is famous for its creative hotspots, cultural heritage, charming architecture, and world-famous port wine. In addition, the place has beautiful neighborhoods where you can rent out a property. The cost per square meter is around €10 in Porto, and there are also areas in the city where the price is comparatively lower.
Cost of living in Porto
|One-way ticket (local transport)||€1.50|
|Monthly pass (regular price)||€40|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||€1.93|
|Cost of utilities||Price|
|Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 85m² Apartment per month||€114.92|
|Prepaid mobile tariff local for 1 min||€0.26|
|Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) per month||€34.41|
|Cost of childcare||Price|
|Preschool (or Kindergarten), full day, private, monthly for one child||€355.59|
|International primary school, yearly for one child||€7,211.44|
The third-largest city of Portugal, Braga is home to architectural and cultural heritage, primarily churches and beautiful squares. As per a recent study by the European Commission, Braga has been declared one of the happiest cities in Portugal to live in. Moreover, the place is quite affordable in Portugal. Currently, the price per square meter is around €10 in Braga.
Cost of living in Braga
|One-way ticket (local transport)||€1.55|
|Monthly pass (regular price)||€26.75|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||€1.90|
|Cost of utilities||Price|
|Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 85m² apartment per month||€97.40|
|Prepaid mobile tariff local for 1 min||€0.15|
|Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) per month||€31.56|
|Cost of Childcare||Price|
|Preschool (or Kindergarten), full day, private, monthly for one child||€276.67|
|International primary school, yearly for one child||€5493.33|
Renowned for its charming beaches, luxury resorts, and sunny climate, the Algarve region is home to many expats living in Portugal. The region is one of the first choices for retirement for many foreigners. From apartments, and homes to sea-facing complexes, there are many options available in the Algarve when it comes to real estate. The rent prices in the region are around €10.50 per square meter.
Cost of living in the Algarve region
|One-way ticket (local transport)||€1.68|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||€1.80|
|Cost of utilities||Price|
|Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 85m² apartment per month||€101.36|
|Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) per month||€32|
|Cost of childcare||Price|
|Preschool (or Kindergarten), full day, private, monthly for one child||€350|
|International primary school, yearly for one child||€12300|
Which is better - buying or renting?
It is always easier to rent a property in Portugal than to buy a property, as it includes less paperwork and fewer legal processes. Moreover, you don’t have to take out a mortgage to pay for your rental property. Rental homes can also come furnished, so you don’t have to buy everything before you move in.
However, if you are thinking of staying in Portugal permanently, you should consider buying a property as it can be beneficial in the long term.
Types of Rental Properties in Portugal
There are various types of property that you can rent in Portugal, but, for the most part, people in Portugal rent out apartments. If you cannot rent out an entire apartment, you can also share the space with a flatmate to divide the cost. This practice is quite common in cities like Porto and Lisbon, where rent prices are relatively higher than in the rest of Portugal. If you are looking to rent an entire house, you can do so much more affordably in the countryside or city outskirts.
Properties can be either furnished or unfurnished, so decide which is the best option for you when looking to rent a property in Portugal. While looking at the listings, you might come across the number of rooms mentioned in the listing title. For instance, T1 is a one-bedroom apartment, whereas T2 is a two-bedroom apartment.
Although Portugal has a warm sunny climate most of the time, some properties are poorly insulated and can sometimes get quite cold. Therefore, during winter, you might want to get a heater if you stay in such a property or ensure that the property has good insulation before signing the rental agreement.
How to find a place to rent in Portugal?
There are many options available through which you can find properties for rent in Portugal. You can find some of these below:
Online Portals: If you are looking to move into a rented property quickly, then finding it through an online portal is the easiest option. On online portals, various properties available for rent are listed, and you can filter them according to various features like price, the number of rooms, and the property’s location. You can try the following websites for renting in Portugal –
- Casa Sapo
- Real estate websites such as Engel & Völkers, Remax, and ERA
Property Agents: If you are unfamiliar with the area that you would want to rent in, then it is always better to find your rental property through a property agent. Since most of the property agents speak both Portuguese and English, they will help you better navigate the entire process.
You can also get in touch with our partner Goldcrest Goldcrest Real Estate if you planning to buy or rent a property in Portugal. They can help you in discovering various options available in the market so that you can buy or rent your dream property.
Agencies specialized in renting for expats: While most property agencies are more than happy to help expats find their ideal rental home, there are specialized agencies that cater to the expat community. These agencies include the following:
- SilverDoor Apartments
Flatshares: For students and relatively young people in Portugal, it is common to share an apartment. In this case, generally, the individual has a room for themselves and shares the kitchen, bathroom, and living room with the other flatmate. The average rent for this accommodation ranges between €200 to €450 per month. But you should note that the cost in bigger cities can be higher than this.
Student Housing in Portugal
In most universities in Portugal, on-campus housing is very common. Students generally live in a residence hall or share an accommodation near their campus. You can also put in an application for university residence. Since the demand is enormous, spaces fill up very fast, and there is always a shortage of student residences. In such circumstances, students have to look for private accommodation. Websites like Uniplaces and Bquarto offer housing listings for students as well.
How do you rent a property in Portugal?
Just like in other European countries, the renting process in Portugal is done, for the most part, in two ways. You can either rent through an agency or an individual.
Renting with the help of a property agency – After you finalize the property that you would like to rent in Portugal, you must immediately make preparations to sign the lease of the rental property. To do so in Portugal, you must have a tax number – Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) number, and proof of identity.
In case more than one person rents the property, you must ensure that you have all the correct documentatione. In addition to this, you will also need to show your bank statement, your tax return, and proof of employment.
If you are a student and are unemployed, your parent or legal guardian must provide these documents. Moreover, your landlord might also ask to assign a guarantor to guarantee the payment of rent in case the rentee breaks the rent agreement. Once your lease is signed, you must submit your advance payment, usually up to three months. Additionally, your landlord can also ask for a security deposit.
Renting directly through the landlord- If you don’t want to deal with a property agent, you can also rent a property via a private landlord. The documentation in this case also remains the same. But please note that in Portugal, some of them might not be able to speak English, which can make communication a bit difficult.
Rental Expenses in Portugal
Generally, rental expenses in Portugal are non-negotiable. But in a few cases, you would be allowed to negotiate with your landlord on the rent, but if the landlord finds someone willing to pay the price quoted or more, the property passes to the next customer.
Monthly rent: If you plan to rent a three-bedroom apartment in Portugal, as per Numbeo, your approximate rent will be around €1,281.86 per month. But please note that a studio apartment can cost you the same if you rent it in the city center. In popular cities like Porto or the Algarve, a three-bedroom property in a proper location will cost you around €1,200. Whereas in areas like Castelo Branco, you can pay as little as €300 per month for rent.
Utility bills are not included in your monthly rent if it is not mentioned clearly in the listings. You will be penalized as per your rental agreement if you cannot pay your bills. In normal circumstances, you are given eight days to clear your expenses after the due date. If you fail to do so, then you have to pay 50 percent compensation to your landlord or else get evicted.
Rental deposit: For renting in Portugal, you will likely have to pay your landlord a security deposit amount to your landlord. You can get the money back once your lease ends provided your rental property is adequately maintained.
Agency and administration charges: You don’t have to pay your agency any real estate commission in Portugal. On the other hand, real estate agencies directly charge the property owners their fees.
Utility costs: Utility costs of a rental property are generally covered by tenants. Utility costs include expenses incurred due to electricity, internet, water, gas, and others. These costs are typically provided to individual service providers for each utility. On average, the total utility cost totals around €100 per month.
Social housing in Portugal
The Instituto da Habilitação e da Reabilitação Urbana (IHRU) is responsible for taking care of social housing in Portugal. Social housing can be availed by both local residents and expats. This facility is mainly available for low-income earners and families living in poverty. An individual can apply for social housing through an online app called Portal da Habitação.
To find out more about Portugal’s social benefits, specifically, the healthcare system in Portugal please refer to our comprehensive guide: ‘Healthcare in Portugal – A Complete Guide for Expats.‘
Tenancy Contracts in Portugal
There are various types of tenancy contracts available in Portugal. Out of which, two tenancy contracts – fixed term (contrato com prazo certo) and open-ended contracts (contrato por duração indeterminada) are the most common. Typically, tenancy contracts have a minimum of a one-year lease agreement.
Make sure to include the following things in your tenancy contract:
- Name and identification of all individuals renting the property
- The address of the property
- Rent cost and the limit date for payment
- The duration of the contract
Tenant rights and obligations
Generally your rent agreement in Portugal automatically gets renewed, unless any individual chooses to discontinue it. But before leaving the rental property, tenants have to serve a two-month notice period to the landlord. In the end, if your landlord comes across any problems in the property, they can block your security deposit or deduct the money from it. Under normal circumstances, you are not allowed to sub-rent your place unless it is mentioned in the contract.
Landlord rights and obligations
Being a landlord also comes with a set of duties and responsibilities. Before terminating your tenant’s rental agreement, you must give a minimum of two months prior notice. In a few cases, you are also liable to provide a just reason before you end your relationship with your tenant.
In cases where your tenant has been unable to pay three months of rent continuously, you can then share a formal notification citing the same. If the tenant has not paid the rent for over three months, you can initiate the eviction process.
Where to go in the event of a dispute?
In case of a rental dispute, you can get in touch with The Associação dos Inquilinos e Condóminos do Norte de Portugal. If you are in Lisbon, you can refer to the Centro de Apoio do Novo Regime de Arrendamento Urbano (NRAU) for settling a landlord and tenant dispute.
Renting out your Home in Portugal
If you own a property in Portugal, you can earn from it by turning your property into a holiday rental. In that case, you must build the house in such a way that it meets all safety requirements and is eligible for a permit. In addition to this, you also need to pay a tourist tax, which you can include in your rental charge for your clients.
While you can personally try to rent out your property through online portals, it is always better to use a local property agent when renting out your home in Portugal. This way, they take care of all legal formalities. Some of the costs that you should bear in mind are provided below.
- Agency fees – Usually the rent for one or two months
- Stamp duty (imposto de selo) – 10 percent of the rent value for each lease issued
- Municipal Property Tax (IMI) – Ranges between 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent of the value of the tax asset paid annually
- IRS tax – Rental income is taxed between 10 percent to 28 percent depending on the duration of the contract
Useful Tips for Renters in Portugal
- Before you see and evaluate the property personally, don’t sign the contract.
- If there is a requirement for repairing work, it is better to close it with the vendor and the landlord before signing the contract
- Discuss with your landlord which fees are associated with the contract
For more details, consult our articles:
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the cheapest place to rent in Portugal?
Places like Chaves, Elvas, and Covilha are a few of the cheapest places to rent in Portugal.
Is it better to buy or rent in Portugal?
Although most people buy a property in Portugal, you can also easily rent out one if you don’t want to or are not ready to purchase property
What is the monthly rent in Portugal?
As per Numbeo, the rent for a one-bedroom in a city center is around €761.93, whereas the rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside of a city center is €584.65