How to Rent Any House or Apartment in Brazil

alugoToday, I’m going to teach you how to rent any house or apartment you want, even if you’re a foreigner.

“Kevin, how can I find a house or apartment to rent in Brazil?”

This is one of the top questions that people ask me and it’s time to show you exactly how I have been able to not only secure house and apartment rentals for myself, but others too (note: even on a tourist visa!).

And there are 3 ways that this can be done

  • Private rentals (owner to you)
  • Imobiliária (owner – agent – you)
  • Temporary (owner or company to you for a few months)

So without further ado, let’s break these three options down for you!

1. Doing a Private Rental

Your first option when looking for a house or apartment to rent in Brazil is to go after a private rental.

A private rental is where the owner themselves rent the place out and are responsible for the whole procedure.  The advantage of this is that you can work with them to be flexible with your situation, negotiate the price and so on.

This is a great option for people coming on temporary visas hoping to upgrade visa status in the near future 😉 Why? Because any rental agency will require either a co-signer, huge deposit or strong work history – more on that in option #2.

Where to find private rentals



The first thing to do is to obviously find a place to look, right?

Let me tell you exactly what I do for myself and any client I’m assisting who is relocating to Florianópolis.

I look on sites like or

These are classified sites where people will post their house or apartment for rent together with pictures and descriptions.

Check out a post I wrote on how to use vivastreet.

It functions in many ways the same as we know Craigslist.org to do in the USA, where you can browse houses and apartments based on the date they were posted.

Within the ad, you should be able to get some of the basic information you need to compare places.

I look in local papers and bulletin boards

This is where the “hidden gems” usually are.  Brazil is without a doubt an up and coming country, and with the whole up and coming process comes people who are “late adapters” per se…

These are people who haven’t quite caught on to the Internet yet, online classifieds etc.  So what they do is to either publish them in the local newspaper or they will create a hand written note and put it in the local bulletin board, in the nearby shopping center.

This is almost always the first place I go when looking for a rental (that and word of mouth of course, another good place to look!) as many people don’t think about going there.

What to do after you find a private rental



What are the next steps once you’ve found something that interests you?

  1. Call them (or have someone who speaks Portuguese call)
  2. Arrange an appointment to look at the place if it’s interesting
  3. Ask details about tax, electricity, water, condomínio (a fee you pay if you are in a condo or apartment) etc

Note: confirm the price first!  If they smell gringo, it could mean a gringo tax could be levied…

One thing to know is that in high demand areas like Florianópolis, houses get rented out like hotcakes (and the renters know this).  So it’s a very good idea to be able to make a decision quickly unless you have time to spare.

A client (and friend) of mine who I was helping find a place around the Lagoa da Conceição area, had a house rented out from right under his nose.  We were literally 1.5 hours too late in calling them to confirm that he wanted to rent the place, so in the mean time someone came and swooped it out from under him.

This is also because the price of the house was at a “popular” level increasing the demand in an already sought after area.

Deposit, Contract and payment



After you decide to rent the house, there is usually a standard 2-3 month deposit expected, a contract signature (with signatures verified at the notary public “Cartório”) and payment to be made.

One very important thing to know, is that the owner of the house is required (by law 8.245) to place your deposit into a separate savings account.  Any interest earned within the owners savings account during the rental time is also yours too.

It’s a good idea to have some cash ready when you are ready to sign the contract as a “sinal” because many claim that they will rent, though it’s not always true that they are honest.  So some homeowners choose to rent it to the first who can “show them the money”.

Note if you are making a transfer from abroad: give the transfer about 8-9 days to arrive into the owners saving’s account (even though your bank says 3 days) though if you are making the transfer from the USA, can have it into the account within 24 hours!



Update: I’ve been informed by a reader that it’s best to go through for the deposit and not the owner’s (risky) bank account!

2. Doing a Temporary Rental

Let’s say that you are only going to stay for a few or more months.  Instead of staying at an overpriced hotel, you would like a little apartment or something that you could call “yours” for the time being.

The best option is to look for what is called “alugar temporário” (temporary rental), there are many options out there and all you have to know is where to look.

Where to find temporary rentals

The best places to look for temporary rentals is always around the touristy areas.  This is usually beach destinations like Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Florianópolis etc as there is a huge flux of tourism during the Brazilian summer (December – January) and Carnival holidays.

What I do to find them is to check out and as some “pousadas” (like apt-hotels) will post monthly rentals (look for “aluguel mensal”) there.



pousada

What a pousada might look like.

Another place to look is in the bulletin boards like above and finally the actually pousadas themselves.

What I usually recommend and do myself, is to go for a drive around the area they would like to stay in and look for different houses, apartments and pousadas around the touristed areas and literally stop the car and ask the manager if they have any monthly rentals available!

This is really the best way in my opinion as they don’t always advertise and this gives you a competitive edge over other people looking.

What to do after you find a temporary rental

Once you’ve found a place that you like, it’s just a matter of telling them how long you would like to stay and paying the first month.

Take a look at the place, take pictures to note the state and make sure to check if everything is there.

They will usually come furnished if they are temporary and the furnishes will vary in level depending on the quality of the pousada, house or apartment.  Don’t count on there being a washing machine though, you’ll have to get one yourself.

Deposit, contracts and payment

When taking care of the paperwork, it’s pretty easy.  You only have to fill out a piece of paper and sign it, then give them your first month’s payment.

You will then pay every month after that unless you agree on paying a lump some for your entire stay at a discounted rate.

Be aware that if you are abroad and wanting to rent something, that they usually require a 50% down payment (this is normal) wired to their account – I usually prefer just doing it in person.

3. Doing an “Imobiliária” Rental

Another viable and permanent option for renting a house or apartment is to go through what is called an Imobiliária (real estate agency).  This is where the owner of the house or apartment asks an agency to help them rent it out and take care of all the details at a commission.

This basically means that you check an agency’s website in the area you are looking for to see if you can find something interesting.  After you have found something you would like to check out, they will setup a showing and take it from there all the way to the end.

This is definitely the most secure way of doing things as they have a reputation to maintain and usually do things more by the book.  I’ve both gone the private and imobiliária way and would have to say that you get the most peace of mind when someone takes care of it for you – though their renting requirements are much more strict then renting directly from an owner.

Where to find a real estate agent

The first step I take is usually to ask someone that lives in the area you are looking at moving too.  If that isn’t an option (or just one of) then try going to and typing “imobiliária (insert city name)”, you should then get a list of Google results showing the agencies that deal with houses and apartments in the area.

Here are a couple examples of agencies in Florianópolis:

  1.  (in the city center)
  2.  (In the Trindade area)

Their websites are usually pretty intuitive with a great presentation of the property, where you can see all of the details, a picture portfolio, price and so on.

Once you’ve find one that you like, contact them about more details and a showing.  If the house isn’t for you, ask if they have anything else you haven’t seen as they can generally call in favors from other agencies in the area.

What to do after you find a house

After you’ve found one, go out and take a look.  Make sure you you take good notes of the condition, different elements as the agency will be the intermediary to help you after you rent it, but it doesn’t mean that the house is in great shape.

I actually had a friend rent a place where the water heater was broken from the get go, so they had to get the agency to get the owner to fix it.  This is probably easier then going directly through the owner as they have more pull, influence and are used to this kind of thing.

Deposit, contracts and payment

Once you are ready to rent the house, the agency will expect you to show:

Note: if you agree to pay a year up front, you can usually get a discount on the rent!

Now, if you don’t have any proof of income that functions in Brazil or a co-signer (usually where us foreigners get stuck), there is a way around this and that is to put a larger deposit down.

I’ve seen this in several different ways, either they ask for 6, 9 or 12 month’s payment (depending on the agency) to offset any risk in dealing with someone that has proven to be trustworthy yet.

So this is quite normal and nothing to be scared of when they ask for that much in deposit.

After you have signed the contract with them, this will serve as a proof of residence, which you will need to get everything else done.

Final Words

Now that we’ve reached the end of this post, you should have 3 really great options to rent a place for yourself – they should cover every basis.

My main piece of advice for you when finding a place is to remember that where there is a will and persistance, there is a way.

Have any good information to add about renting a place?

Valeu!

Kevin

P.S. don’t forget to for new posts 🙂

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28 Comments

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  • Thanks Kevin, this was another very helpful post. Just was wondering what the prices are like renting rooms or apartments privately. For example: Single person looking for a room or apartment, in a somewhat good area. What can someone expect to pay each month for a place to stay?

    • My pleasure Jason!

      It depends on where you want to live, do you have a rough idea of the city?

      But for a single person in a studio apartment in downtown Floripa, you will probably be spending over r$1,200 a month. São Paulo, more like r$2,000.

      Though again, this is totally depend on location, condition etc

      • I’ll be moving to Floripa. I am going to stay with my Brazilian friend for a few weeks when I first get down there to help me get settled and find a job and a place that is close.
        I know this is your city, so I was going to see what you advised for an area to work and live. I would rather live with someone that is Brazilian so that it gives me someone practice my Portuguese with. I’m looking for a place that is within a teachers budget. I don’t need anything fancy…
        Thanks again!
        Jason

        • Fala Jason!
          Nice man, great thinking!

          You can get what is called a Kitnet at a reasonable rate (r$600-800 a month) – which is basically a studio apartment.

          It’s hard to say what is reasonable because it’s all going to depend on where you can get work. The most touristed and sought after places to teach and live are Lagoa da Conceição and Centro – both are a little on the pricey side for rentals (and get rented fast) but you can find something on the outskirts for a reasonable rate.

          For example, canto da lagoa (around the south side of the lake) has a lot of decently priced apartments but still close enough to Lagoa da Conceição to get there by bus and Campeche.

          This time of the year one huge consideration is to live somewhere where it doesn’t die in the off-tourist season. Many cities will be pretty empty until the heat comes again.

          Hope that helps and happy to give you some recommendations (and contacts) on where to look!

          Kevin

  • Hello Kevin, I liked your post but
    having quite some experience as a renter in Brazil (Belo Horizonte), and now
    being on the other side (i.e. as an owner, in Florianópolis), I can tell you
    there are quite a lot more ways to deal with the ‘guarantee’ aspect. Yes, there
    is the possibility of the ‘classical’ 3-month guarantee, but it is definitely
    not widely used. For lots of owners, this is not enough. There is the case of
    ‘fiadores’, people putting their proper real estate as guarantee, like your
    parents’ house, etc. Limitation there is sometimes that the guarantee real
    estate has to be in the same municipality. True that this option is quite
    irrealistic for 99% of foreigners.

    Very realistic (but very annoying in my opinion, to put it mildly), is the
    ‘Seguro Fiança’. This is indeed a kind of insurance, to be paid every year, to
    ‘protect’ the owner against any wrongdoing of you as renter. This wrongdoing is
    of course not paying rent in the first place. In that case, the insurance
    company will pay the rent to the owner, who doesn’t have to lose one minute of
    his sleep worrying, and then they will come after you (as renter) with all they
    have. But the insurance fee also covers amounts for the case where you leave
    the apartment/house during that year and e.g. do not paint it again. Same thing,
    they will pay the paint and the painter, and then come after you. In other
    words, every year you pay a fee to protect the owner against your own
    wrongdoing, every year you pay those parts for e.g. painting, but no matter
    what, you will end up paying for the paint anyway! Amounts then? You should
    count 2 months of rent as Seguro Fiança, so every year you pay 14 months of
    rent to live there during 12 months. Needless to say, I hated it, but (in BH)
    there simply was no other option. It is very widely used and for foreigners it
    is a very ‘easy’ and accessible way of renting because you don’t need to know a
    Brazilian who will vouch for you.
    But despite it being quite expensive, I do think this option deserves to be mentioned here anyway.

    Lastly,there is also the newer formula of ‘Titulo de Capitalização’, which is more like an investment/insurance product, where you DO get your money back, but you have to put up to 8 months rent on the table. Less used, but becoming increasingly popular as I see it.

    Best regards, Michel Bruggeman

    • Hello Michel, thank you so much for your awesome information!

      I will actually amend this article to include your input as this was golden input – thanks 🙂

      When I’m back in Floripa, maybe we should meet up and get a beer?

      Até!

  • Hello Kevin, another website worth a mention here is . The Brazilians are showing a huge interest in this site, and plenty of private adverts are going up for the World Cup and Rio Olympics.

  • Hello, I have a Bed&Breakfast and we have available a room with private bathroom and complete kitchen to month rental. Take a look here:

  • Hi Kevin, how are you?
    My name is Natalia, I am Brazilian and I live in São Paulo.
    I do not speak English well, so forgive me any error!
    Until last year I lived in a house with my parents, they divorced, he kept the house we lived and she bought another house, located in Vila Madalena, you should know, the most charming neighborhood of Sao Paulo! But the house is small for me, my mother and my brothers. So put that rental and lease another (which is which we live today).
    However, after almost a year no one showed interest in the house we are renting. I can only stay in the house that I am today (which is bigger and fits my family) if we can rent it. She is very cute, has two furnished bedrooms, balcony, two pscinas, two garage spaces. Anyway, I can show you pictures if you want!
    I wonder if you know some group of foreigners who want to live in São Paulo I can announce that apartment.
    I know this is an unusual request, but we are really concerned about this situation. The house is beautiful, but it is small (it has two bedrooms, ideal for a couple with no more than one child).
    You know somewhere that I can advertise my house (she is already in several real estate, but would like to have more direct contact with potential customers!)

    With love, Natalie.

    • Oi Kevin, tudo bom?

      Meu nome é Natália, sou brasileira e moro em São Paulo.

      Não falo inglês bem, então me perdoe qualquer erro!

      Até ano passado vivia numa casa com meus pais, eles se divorciaram, ele ficou com a casa que morávamos e ela comprou uma outra casa, que fica na Vila Madalena, você deve saber, o bairro mais charmoso de São Paulo! Mas a casa é pequena para mim, minha mãe e meus irmãos. Então colocamos essa casa para alugar e alugamos outra (que é a qual vivemos hoje).

      No entanto, depois de quase um ano ninguém mostrou interesse na casa que estamos alugando. Só posso ficar na casa que estou hoje (que é maior e cabe minha família) se conseguirmos aluga-la. Ela é muito fofa, tem dois quartos mobiliados, varanda, duas pscinas, duas vagas na garagem. Enfim, posso mostrar fotos se você quiser!

      Gostaria muuuuuito de saber se você conheço algum grupo de estrangeiros que querem morar em São Paulo que eu posso anunciar esse apartamento.

      Sei que é um pedido incomum, mas estamos realmente muito preocupados com esse situação. A casa é linda, mas é pequena (tem dois quartos, é ideal para um casal com no máximo um filho).

      Você saberia algum lugar que eu possa anunciar minha casa (ela já está em várias imobiliárias, mas gostaria de ter contato mais direto com possíveis clientes!)

      Obrigada, Natália.

  • Hi Kevin great info on this site ! I have decided to spend 6 months in Brazil Rio. I am going in a couple of weeks and thought it would be straight forward to rent an apartment there but on investigation I have found its not so straight forward. I started researching which brought me to your site. Which is great the exact info I need. Would you or anyone on here be able to recommend my best option for renting. I need to find something in the next 2 weeks I will have approx 1200 reais monthly budget.

  • Hi! I’m living in a nice 3 bedroom flat close to Barra Funda Station and I.m looking for some 2 new mates.

    Please get in touch and I can give you more information, details and fotos.
    Cheers,

    • hi im coming in Sao Paulo brazil for job i need accommodation for 3 month i will pay all expenses when i come there i need accommodation proof for my visa can you give me im from pakistan but now im in dubai
      my email

  • Hello !! Please any body can help me in finding an apprtment for a month and if you can tell how to apply for a job in any hospital I will come to Brazil in January i am an orthopedic and traumatology surgeon currently working and living in ukraine

  • Thanks Kevin!

    I had a hard time finding flat for one month in Sao Paulo. Hotels was expensive, and residential apartments needed this SERASA insurance + it was minimum one year. I finally closed with one local agency (www.saopauloflat.com) and It was quiet good, how ever now I would rent with . For long term vivareal was pretty good.

    Cheers

  • Boa tarde,

    Me chamo Luiz e gostaria de deixar um link aqui para que possamos ajudá-los!

    Disponiblizamos tranquilidade de facilidade para você que queira comprar ou alugar apartamento ou casa em São Paulo ou nas imediações como a Grande São Paulo e Interior, desde lançamentos para quem está se programando e até para quem precisa de um imóvel rápidamente.

    Seria muito interessante fazer uma parceria com você Kevin Porter.

  • Hello I’m Brazilian I live in and I want to help any American who wants to come to Brazil but has no condition to rent a house or apartment who know young people who want to meet brazil’s stop my house is open

  • Hello,
    I will be coming to Brazil in Feb of 2017 for a few months. I need to rent a decent place for the duration of my stay, have not been successful. Point me to the right direction pls

    • Hi there, which city will you be staying in? You could have a look on OLX.com.br and contact landlords, asking them if they rent “direto com o proprietário”, which means direct with the owner. Ordinarily this means you can rent just by showing your ID, perhaps proof of income and paying a caução (a deposit).

  • This is awesome information…thank you! I did have a question, in looking on line I get the impression that most rental places don’t have any appliances…any recommendations on that, I’m assuming there are places to rent the appliances versus purchasing? I am possibly going to spend some time in Brazil this summer and just trying to do some research..

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