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Accommodation in Brazil

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Brazil is a vast and diverse country, so it should come as no surprise that there are a variety of lodging options here. In some areas, it's easy to find decent, reasonably priced accommodation but in others, you'll need money and patience. The good news: There are more options available today than ever before. In this introduction to accommodation in Brazil, we look at several of these and at the common types of rental contracts.

Short-term accommodation in Brazil

If you are just visiting Brazil on vacation or to scout an area, you'll want short-term accommodation. Some options include:

Hotels

Larger, full-service hotels are available in cities and resort areas. In general, rates compare favourably to those found in Europe and the US, although they will vary. Note that in Brazil, a full breakfast (buffet style) is typically included in the quoted rate as are taxes. An optional 10% charge for service may be added or declined at checkout.

Pousadas

These are smaller hotels, like inns or B&Bs, which typically have 5-20 rooms and often are family owned and operated. A full Brazilian breakfast is almost always included. Pousadas are an excellent way to experience Brazilian hospitality and to meet other travellers.

Motels

You will probably not want to stay in a motel in Brazil, as here (and throughout much of Latin America), a motel is not a place to stay overnight, but to go just for a romantic tryst. While some can be quite luxurious, you wouldn't book a week in one.

Hostels/albergues

Hostels (often called albergues in Brazil) are an inexpensive option for younger (but not only) travellers. Hostels are particularly common in the more touristy locales. They can be a great way to economise and also to meet fellow travellers.

If you anticipate staying in hostels frequently, you may wish to pick up a membership with Hostelling International, which should pay for itself in discounted stays.

Airbnb

Airbnb has grown rapidly in Brazil. In cities large and small you can now rent a room in a private home. This is an economical way to travel, and to see how Brazilians live.

Long-term accommodation in Brazil

In cities throughout Brazil, most people live in apartment blocks. Apartment buildings are typically the best option for expats as well, for a couple of reasons — most have a doorman, known as a porteiro, which makes them more secure than detached houses, and often they will have amenities such as a swimming pool, game room, covered parking, etc..

Detached homes are found in smaller cities and towns and in rural areas. Security can be an issue, so think carefully before buying or renting such a home.

Homes in Brazil, even those built today, are rarely weather-proof. Even in the South, where winter months (June-August) are quite chilly, many homes have no insulation and no form of heating. Central heating is unheard of in Brazil. Rooms may have an AC/heating unit, or portable electric room heaters called estufas.

Many older homes, apartments or detached homes, have a bedroom with a tiny private bathroom off of the kitchen, which was for the live-in maid. These quarters are less common in newer homes but are still found. Often the maid's quarters are used for storage, but sometimes will be let, and can be a cosy spot for one person to stay cheaply.

You might also consider an apartment share or to rent a room. These arrangements are easier to enter into, and to end, and can also be a better choice if the duration of your stay is open-ended. In cities such as Rio, where lodging is expensive and apartments hard to find, an apartment share may be the most expedient option. And if you find a host who speaks English, you'll have a ready-made guide! To find these deals, check local newspapers and the online service EasyQuarto.

Accommodation contracts

In parts of Brazil which see many tourists, por temporada rental contracts are common. These contracts are for up to 90 days and typically include utility charges, condominium fees, etc.. However, make sure to verify what exactly is included.

The standard rental contract in Brazil is for 30 months. However, these days 12-month leases are common. These will be written as a standard 30-month contract with a clause added saying that the renter can exit after 12 months without penalty.

Traditionally, landlords in Brazil have often required a fiador, which is a co-signer who must meet specific requirements. Expats are unlikely to have a Brazilian fiador. Fortunately, today it is often possible to rent without a fiador, often by placing a deposit of three months rent in escrow.

When renting, be sure to verify what is and is not included in the quoted rental amount. In addition to the quoted rent, tenants in Brazil are typically expected to pay the condominio, or condominium fees, and IPTU, which are property taxes. Condominium fees may be quite high in relation to the rent, so be sure to ask about them. In some areas, a pacote (package) is common, in which the quoted monthly amount includes rent, condo fees, and taxes. These are a safer deal, as the renter does not have to worry about an increase in the condo fees or a special assessment.

Utilities are generally the renter's responsibility on long-term contracts, although water may be included in the condo fees. Some buildings also provide Wi-Fi service. Gas and electricity are almost always the renter's responsibility.

Finding accommodation in Brazil

Today there are several websites which list available properties for sale or rent in all of Brazil's major cities. Links are provided below.

Note that Brazil does not, however, have a multiple listing service. Rather, each real estate agent will have their listings, but communication between agents is rare. Therefore, when searching for a property, you would be wise to consult with more than one agent.

If you've found an area where you'd like to live, chat with the porteiros at several buildings. Porteiros are great sources of information, and may know of vacant apartments in the building or of opportunities to rent a room.

If relocating to Brazil for work, you should request assistance from your employer in locating suitable housing and in negotiating the lease.

 Useful links:

For short-term:

Hotels.com
Booking.com
HostelWorld.com
Hostelbookers.com
HostellingInternational.com

Airbnb.com

For long-term:

Long-term housing options
https://www.vivareal.com.br/
https://www.zapimoveis.com.br/
http://www.imovelweb.com.br/
https://www.easyquarto.com.br/

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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