Breaking Lease in Brazil

It would be great if someone who knows the laws regarding apartment rentals in Brazil could give me some advice. I was just let go at my job and I need to give up my place this month and move back to the states. My rent is due on the 5th, but i'm not sure if I should pay it as I have a 3 month deposit with my landlord and I'm sure that I will not get this money back.

Should I just inform my landlord of my situation and let them know I will be leaving before the end of the month and they can apply the deposit towards this month's rent? 

Can they force us out if we don't pay the rent for this month even though they have 3 months rent as a security deposit?

Any advice on the situation would be appreciated.

I am in a similar situation. The only difference is I am already back in the United States and my spouse is in the apartment. We (I) paid R$3.600 deposit when I moved in and have not paid December rent. She is calling me daily but the truth is, from what I have been told is the eviction process can take up to 6 months. Remember the bureaucracy you went through when you moved to Brazil? It is no different in this process.

I hold no faith in anyone that holds a deposit/money in Brazil, including the banks. You should seriously assume it is gone. Every lease I have signed has stated I am responsible for the entire lease should I break early regardless of circumstance. Even if it didn't I still do not trust anyone there.

They will probably report you to the agency (can't remember the name) that puts the names of delinquent tenants on a list. And I would image it would affect your credit in Brazil.

If you are not going back to Brazil - utilize what you can until they forcefully evict you OR until you just simply leave. Chances are if they know you aren't coming back they will just cut their losses to as it will clearly be unrecoverable outside the country of Brazil.


Thanks for the reply. How long have you had this apt? I was just reading that the laws were changed in 2010 to enable landlords to make it much easier for landlords to evict tenants etc...

Brazil: The New Real Estate Rental Law

And I also came across this which states that you can give 30 days notice if you lost your job or are being relocated and avoid paying any fees.

At this point I am not really concerned as much with losing the 3 months deposit, but I would like to avoid paying the rent for this month and just ask my landlord to take the rent from the deposit. I would also like to remain in the apartment until the end of the month as we still need to settle a number of things before we leave Brazil

Hi identikal,

It all depends if you have a rental contract or if it is just an informal rental. If you have a contract that has your signature (especially if notarized) the law here is quite clear.

By law, rental contracts have a term of 30 months. During the first twelve months if you break the lease there is a contractual fine equal to the remainder of the first twelve months of rent owing. After that the contractual fine disappears and you can vacate by giving notice of intent equal to the number of months deposit you have paid. These are used as the rent for the next months.

You must return the apartment to the same condition as it was in when you took occupancy, so if it was just painted before you moved in, then you must repaint. You are also responsible for repairing any damages that you have caused to the apartment and any furnishings or appliances that it may contain (normal wear and tear excepted).

If there is no formal contract then have a frank conversation with the owner, explain your situation and maybe he/she will take pity on your situation and let you out of the agreement without a lot of problems, but you should be prepared to give up the amount deposited if that is what the owner wants, that's a lot better than the fine. Again you are required to return the apartment to it's original condition as above.

Hope this answers your question.

William James Woodward - Brazil & Canada Expert, Expat-blog Team

Thanks William,

I really appreciate the info. Yes, we do have a standard rental contract, but I don't remember if we had it notarized or not. In any case, we have a 3 month deposit with our landlord and we have already passed the 12 month mark of our 30 month lease. So from what you've stated, we can notify our landlord that we will be leaving the apartment at the end of the month and to use part of this deposit towards this months rent, correct?

Also, I assume that the remainder of the deposit will not be returned, correct?

Again, I appreciate your help. Thanks again and happy new year!


Probably not, since the normal procedure is to give notice equal the number of months of the deposit, which then just gets used up as rental payments. If your landlord is a real nice guy, who knows? Keep your fingers crossed, you might see some of it back. Just hope for the best, but expect the worst!!!

William James Woodward, Brazil & Canada Expert, Expat-blog Team

Just an update on this - I still have not been given formal notice and I am over 15 days late. It appears the landlord is fearing the process. If I did this in the US I would already have a court date - in some states on day 6.

Nothing is easier in Brazil, no matter how easy they try to make it. They just make it more easy to be difficult.

Hi I need some help I signed a contract for an apartment for the value of 3000 and within two weeks I wanted to cancel the contract but the owner is not paying my deposit back is there anything I can do

Without knowing the contract hard to say.

I would doubt it, You took the apartment off the market.

@usmc_mv If your wife is Brazilian, you are really screwing her by doing what you are doing. All defaults will come back on her (and her CPF and all that's attached to it, which is basically everything) and you are screwing your landlord as well. WHy not do the responsible thing and help your wife out of that situation so she doesn't have to deal with all the consequences of your actions. AND btw, her passport and visa can be revoked if her CPF is not in order.


usmc_mv05 has not been seen since January 2014 12:32:26

Very old post

@Texanbrazil How weird. WHy would that pop up now? I presume he got out of his lease... :)

10/18/22 @sjpetzold.  It didn't "pop up".  The old thread was revived because Dion Monazah posted to it today.

10/18/22 @Dion Monazah Hi I need some help I signed a contract for an apartment for the value of 3000 and within two weeks I wanted to cancel the contract but the owner is not paying my deposit back is there anything I can do

According to my legal sources, the advice that James gave in Post #4 above is still substantially correct, although nowadays the lease term is often specified in the lease itself, and not allowed to default automatically to 30 months. Assuming that the apartment is habitable and unless the lease stipulates a grace period that let's you cancel without penalty, you're stuck unless you can convince your landlord to cut you a break. At any rate, you're probably out your deposit.

Contracts are there to protect both parties. Always read and understand what you are signing and have an exit plan in place if at all possible. I don't know if this will help you now but it's a good lesson learned. 

@abthree OK. I'll check dates in the future.

Dion MonazahYesterday 19:17:44Report#8

We have had tenants who have needed to break their leases in the past. Our property manager allowed them to buy their way out, something carefully specified in the lease agreements. Brazil is quite strict with tenant law and with tenants and with their leases.  Most agents will go after anyone breaking or not following their agreement, ours most certainly will and the tenant will lose.

My recommendation? Follow your lease and try to work this out with the leasing agent.

Hi there,

I have a quesiton about a different type of lease: I just arried in Rio de Janeiro to study portguguese for 2 months. I signed a temporary rental contract for 2 months with an agency (signed electronically online, not notarized, for the 2 months). But I have not yet paid for the rent or the security deposit. Nor have I taken up occupancy: the lease will start in 6 days.

however, I arrived in Brazil 5 days ago and had a serious accident the day I arrived. I was taken by ambulance to hospital and have been bed ridden (head injury) since. I do not feel well and according would like to return to my home country.

QUeSTION: What is my laibility to the agency/landlord with regard to the rental costs in the lease that I have signed, but not yet paid for? The lease does not explicitly specify my legal rights to withdraw before payment, taking possession of keys/occupancy of property, or anything else. given that I had a serious accident and documented serious injuries, what are my options?

Any advice would be appreciated,

Dizzy Gillespie

I can't answer your question about the lease.  I wanted to tell you that I am so sorry for the situation you are in and hope you are recovering.  Also please make sure it is safe for you to fly.  It can be dangerous to fly with a brain injury and can result in hemorrhagic stroke depending on the type of brain injury you have.  Make sure your neurologist clears you to fly. 


The contract is only enforceable once you have accepted it, which occurs not only once you have signed, but also made any initial payments as demanded by the contract. Until then it is not valid.

It would be a pretty heartless person who might try to enforce a short term contract under the circumstances you describe, and would certainly involve a court case, and many many months of delay and costs.

Explain to the agent, go home and get better without any concerns, come back when you are better and then maybe try again...?

@whatevausay I'm sorry to hear about your experience here. I suggest you explain this to the rental agency in the hope that they will let you out of the contract. If they don't, my opinion (as a landlord) is that it is unlikely they will attempt to take legal action against somebody who lives outside Brasil (as you say you plan to do) for the sum of two months' rent. It is likely to cost them more in legal fees than the amount they would recoup. However, anything is possible.