Renting a House or Apartment in Brazil

The facts you need to know about renting a house or apartment in Brazil: the contract, the deposit, the lease and the legal obligations of the landlord and the tenant.

Rental properties are widely available in Brazil. Prices vary throughout the country with higher rents in large cities such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian long term rental properties are usually unfurnished and without any white goods, lights or even shower heads fitted. Electricity and other services are also disconnected. Furnished apartments and houses for rent long term in Brazil are very rare (but can be found). Vacation and short term let apartments and houses in Brazil are always fully furnished and equipped.

Finding a Rental Property

Brazilian rental properties can generally be found through estate agents’ rental departments, in the classified sections of local papers,

In Brazil “for rent” signs may be displayed on the property itself, either hanging from an apartment window or attached to the front gate of a house, most commonly bearing the word Alugo. If the property is available for short let, (normally during the summer tourist season in coastal towns and cities) the sign will read Alugo Temporado.

If the words trater com proprieadade figure on the sign this signifies that the owner must be contacted and dealt with personally; in these cases the strictly enforced rental requirements demanded by rental agencies may be by-passed and rental price and/or deposit can be negotiated.

Property rental websites

In Brazil there are a number of Estate Agents with national coverage and properties can be searched for by value, location or by type on property websites (usually in Portuguese).

These are particularly useful for the sprawling big cities and the more difficult to access rural locations, as they can cut down the search time considerably.

Daily newspapers are also particularly useful, for example the Folha de São Pauloin the state of São Paulo and the A Tardenewspaper in the state of Bahia have regularly updated websites that can be searched for rental properties. Search for imoveis in the classificados section.

It is possible to search for either a sale (venda)or rental (aluguel), by type of property (tipo de imóvel), maximum price (valor máximo), district (bairro) or city (cidade).

Once an appropriate property has been found there are certain necessary procedures to follow.

The Lease

The lease agreement or tenancy contract (Contrato de Locação de Imóvel) stipulates terms and conditions of rental and rental rates and is prepared by the estate agency or owner. The contract term is usually 30 months, but this can be interrupted during the period or extended at the end.

The contract is signed by the landlord and the lessee. Each signature of the lessee on the contract is notarised (reconhecimento de firma) at the Cartorio (Local Registry Office) where the lessee has their signature accepted and registered as legal and correct. This is carried out by the estate agent or owner, who usually also covers the small cost of doing this. The lessee does not need to be present.

Rental agreement contracts are prepared in Brazilian-Portuguese and it is recommended that those who are not able to understand the clauses should consult an English-speaking property lawyer or seek translation of the document through an independent translation company before signing.

If renting a property in Brazil directly with the owner, the lessee can expect a contract to include the following points:

  • The owner’s name, profession, civil status, RG (Brazilian identity card) number and Individual Taxpayer’s number(Cadastro de Pessoa Física CPF)
  • The lessee’s name, profession, civil status, passport number and CPF number
  • Guarantor’s (fiador) name and profession (if applicable)
  • Type of property: residential or commercial and activity of property (residential or commercial)
  • Duration of contract, including the start and end dates and the notice period required (usually 30 days)
  • Payment date: the day of every month when the rent should be paid and is due, and any information on late payment penalties
  • The monthly rental amount
  • The deposit amount
  • Information on rental increases (this can only be increased by the limit that the law permits)

Extra clauses and an inventory (vistoria) should also be included in the contract. The inventory should be signed by the owner and the lessee. Common additional clauses are:

  • That the lessee must re-paint the inside of the property before leaving
  • Information on IPTU (property tax) payments (who has the obligation to pay, and how much)

IPTU (property tax) payments

IPTU payments can be paid by the owner or the tenant. Most advertised rental properties in Brazil will have the IPTU monthly payment mentioned alongside the actual monthly rental payments. If the owner pays this tax, the rent charged to the tenant will be increased to cover it. Another option is for the owner and the tenant to split the payment equally, the tenant will pay their percentage on a monthly basis to the owner. If the property has two joint owners expect to pay 33 percent of the IPTU.

The Deposit

When renting property in Brazil the deposit (deposito) amount is typically between one and three months rent. This is paid to the estate agent or owner and used as security against breakages and damage to the property or unpaid rent.

However another form of security called a Título de capitalização can be used in certain rare cases where a Brazilian or foreigner has no proof of income, no recent living history in Brazil but holds permanent resident status, a CPF card and in the case of a foreigner, an RNE card.

The amount of the Título de capitalização is six months rental value. The money is deposited in a bank where it is used as security for the landlord in the event of non-payment of rent. The money can earn interest and is returned in full at the end of the contract if all contract clauses are satisfied. This by-passes Brazilian rental agencies’ strict demands for documents.

If a person rents directly from an owner they may find that the owner opts for a shorter rental term than the 30 months normally agreed by estate agents; 12 months is usually agreed on by both parties.

In general, it is the owner and not the estate agency who will decide if they agree to accepting a Título de capitalização as a deposit and this method is only used in rare cases. There is no need for a guarantor in the case of a Título de capitalização.

Documents Required When Renting Property

When applying for a lease the applicant will have to provide a certain number of documents. A salaried or self-employed person (pessoa física) will need to provide the following:

  • Authenticated copies of the RNE (or RG for Brazilians) and CPF numbers (of both tenants if married)
  • Proof that income is three times that of the monthly rent, or if self employed the three last bank statements
  • Personal income tax declaration for the current year (Imposto de Renda das Pessoas Físicas – IRPF)

Applicants with a business or who own shares in Brazil (Pessoa Jurídica) will need to provide the following:

  • Deeds of partnership and articles of association related to their company (Contrato Social e Alterações)
  • Business registration number (Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica – CNPJ)
  • RNE (or RG for Brazilians) and CPF numbers of the individual or the associate(s)
  • The last six months company invoices
  • Balance of payments for the last two exercises
  • Proof of payment of business tax (Imposto de Renda de Pessoa Jurídica – IRPJ)

The guarantor

A person applying for a rental property must have a guarantor who must also present documents for the process to proceed. The guarantor for an individual or self-employed person will need to provide the following:

  • Identity card and CPF numbers (of the couple if married)
  • Proof of residence
  • Copy of the IPTU of their property for the current year
  • Proof of salary (salary must be twice that of the monthly rent). If the guarantor is self-employed they must provide their last three bank statements
  • Proof of payment of their last personal income tax (IRPF)
  • Deed (escritura) of the guarantor’s property registered with the Properties of São Paulo Register (Cartórios de Registro de Imóveis)

Guarantor’s from other States may be required to provide additional documents – the agent or owner will advise.

Many estate agents and landlords request that a company (Pessoa Jurídica) be a guarantor for another company, although this is not required by law. In these cases the following documents are needed:

  • Deeds of partnership and articles of association related to their company (Contrato Social e Alterações)
  • Identity card and CPF of the associate(s)
  • Business registration number (Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica – CNPJ)
  • Invoices from the previous six months
  • Proof of payment of business tax (Imposto de Renda de Pessoa Jurídica – IRPJ)
  • Copy of the IPTU of the property for the current year
  • Deed (escritura) of the guarantor’s property registered with the properties of Sao Paulo register at a Cartórios de Registro de Imóveis.

Besides this the estate agency or the landlord may ask for the lessee to provide proof of no civil or criminal convictions (Certidão negativa de ações cíveis e criminais).

Household Insurance and Certificates

Household insurance is required by law when renting an apartment or house in Brazil. The estate agencies usually have a preferred company that they use and will arrange insurance on behalf of the tenant. Although the owner is obliged by law to pay fire insurance for a property, the rental contract may pass this obligation on to the tenant.

The cost of basic cover depends on the monthly rental value of the property. The price is quoted for the year and is paid together with the first month’s rent.

Basic insurance plans may include fire and explosion cover; more complex household insurance plans can include (as well the basic cover) insurance against robbery and broken windows.

A tenant who rents directly from the owner must arrange their own property insurance. Before agreeing household insurance it is important to understand exactly what is covered as this varies between companies.

Tenancy Obligations

The tenant’s obligations are as follows:

  • To pay the rent in full by the agreed date
  • To pay the property tax, IPTU (if this has been agreed upon)
  • To pay service charges: water, electricity and if applicable, communal maintenance in an apartment
  • To use the property “appropriately”, that is, as if it were their own
  • In the case of a condominium: adhere to the internal regulations of the building
  • To be responsible for any damage unless it is the result of the landlord, someone on the property uninvited or force majeure (circumstances outside of their control)
  • To arrange household insurance cover (if stipulated in the contract)

Unless agreed in the lease contract a tenant may not:

  • Use the property for any other purpose than that stipulated in the contract
  • Sublet without written agreement from the landlord
  • Make any major changes or transformations to the property or structures without the landlord’s consent

Condominium charges

The tenant is also responsible for paying condominium charges if they rent in an apartment block with communal areas – the amount is stated before the property is rented. In most cases, the tenant will receive a separate bill, monthly, which should be paid to the building syndicate.

Landlord Obligations

The landlord must rent the property with all equipment functioning correctly, for example taps and wiring and electricity points in the walls and ceilings. If the tenant discovers that this is not the case once services have been connected, it is up to the landlord to undertake any necessary repairs.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to pay for structural repairs, external painting of the building, fire and security equipment and any other extraordinary maintenance/condominium expenses.

Rental Increases

Rental increases are determined by the current legislation applying the index fixed by the Federal Government of Brazil.

Other organisations used to calculate rental increases include the IGP-M which is the General Market Price Index (Índice Geral de Preços de Mercado) or the Getulio Vargas Foundation(da Fundação Getulio Vargas).

These Brazilian price index calculating organisations are official and reflect various prices within a set period.

Renewing Rental Contracts

If neither the owner nor tenant has given notice for the contract to end when the lease expires then tacit agreement is made for it to continue. Formal renewal is carried out, usually for a further 12 or 30 months.

The landlord has to give three months notice to the tenant if they want to take the property back at the end of the agreed term.

Terminating the Lease Contract 

The tenant may give 30 days notice to the owner at any time, but will forfeit one month’s rent and charges as a tax to be paid to the owner.

If a person’s employer transfers the tenant to another place of work the tenant must still give 30 days written notice to the owner but will not have to pay the charges. There must be proof of the transfer (provided by the tenant’s employer).

Notice must be given in writing. There is no requirement by law for the letter to be sent to the landlord by recorded delivery, but it is recommended.

The landlord does not have the right to take back the property during the course of the lease if all of the contractual duties are being met by the tenant.

During the term of the lease, the landlord has the right to terminate the lease for:

  • Breach of contractual duties by the tenant
  • Non-payment of rent or any other contractual costs
  • If urgent repairs need to be carried out and:
    • they can’t be done while the tenant occupies the property; or
    • they can be done with the tenant in residence, but the tenant does not agree to them

Contracts may contain termination clauses, which authorise termination on insolvency, bankruptcy, compromise with creditors and similar events.

Inventory on Departure

On leaving the apartment the tenant must leave the property as it was found. This can be verified through the inventory (vistoria) that the tenant signed when they moved in and also in some cases by the CD of photos of the property made by the agent and given to the tenant when the contract was signed.

If there are any obvious issues and damage to the property the owner or estate agent and tenant can negotiate the amount of the deposit to be deducted before reimbursement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>