Accommodation in Portugal

Houses in Portugal
Updated 2018-08-16 14:01

An important task for any new expat to Portugal is finding accommodation. Housing options can vary greatly in price, size, and amenities, depending on your budget and your preferred location. If you are moving to an area popular with tourists, accommodation can tend to be scarce and may be more expensive. Here’s an overview of accommodation in Portugal, and how to navigate the rental system.

Rent prices

Rent prices can vary greatly, with higher rents being found in large cities, such as Porto and Lisbon, and also in tourist areas. In smaller towns, rents can be lower. Accommodation can also be in high-demand in tourist areas, like Algarve during the summer season, with many owners preferring to rent out their accommodation as short-term holiday lets, which can go for higher prices. If you are moving to a high demand area, it is best to start your accommodation search well before you are planning to move.

As a rough guide, the average rent per month for a one-bedroom flat in a large city centre is reported as 581 EUR, or 398 EUR for a one-bedroom outside of a large city. (Source-

Find accommodation

There are various ways to find accommodation in Portugal. Rental and estate agents are the best starting point, either by meeting them in person to discuss your requirements, or browsing their available properties via their websites. Newspapers, house-share websites, or word-of-mouth can also be a good option.

If you are renting in a tourist or resort area, properties are generally always furnished. In cities such as Lisbon and Porto, you may find a greater mix of both furnished and unfurnished properties. Consider also whether you prefer a short-term or long-term lease- if long-term, purchasing property may work out to be a lower cost than renting over a long period of time.

There is a huge range of accommodation options available in Portugal, from brand-new, modern apartments to more traditional homes. Housing can range from a studio apartment to a large villa - it is helpful to work out your budget and what size of accommodation is required well in advance, to help focus your search. Electricity, gas, and internet are usually not included in rental costs, so it is important to also budget for these needs.

Good to know:

Due to the mild climate, central heating is not usually found in rental homes.

Leases and rental contracts

Once you have found appropriate accommodation, you will have to set up a lease agreement with the owner. A lease should be signed for both short-term or long-term rentals, to provide peace of mind for both the tenant and owner. The rental document should contain the following:

  • Duration of the lease (including any penalties for breaking the lease early)
  • Amount to be paid monthly for rent
  • Contact details of tenant and landlord
  • The tenant will need to provide a Portuguese fiscal ID number
  • Any additional conditions or stipulations as required

Do not hesitate to report any damage of which you are not responsible. The lease document should be handwritten in three copies and should be filed with the Tax Administration Department by the owner. It will then be transformed into a legal lease agreement.

Note that you will have to pay a security deposit, which is equal to a month's rent, as well as the first months' rent before occupying the accommodation. Landlords may also request referrals from previous rentals, or from your employer, although some landlords may not request this information. You may also need to find a translator, to assist with the preparation and signing of formal documents.

You are also advised to obtain rental insurance, to insure your belongings and home goods.

Useful links:

Long Term Lettings
Casa Sapo

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