Accommodation in Brazil

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Expats should not struggle to find accommodation in Brazil. There is generally a wide variety of options, including apartments, condominiums and houses.

Types of accommodation in Brazil

Accommodation is varied throughout Brazil
Expats in larger cities, such as Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, tend to live in apartments or in condominiums or houses in gated communities, which offer security and many shared amenities such as swimming pools.
Many apartments and houses in Brazil are rented unfurnished. They may even exclude light fittings and kitchen appliances. The duration of a lease is normally two to three years, although short-term rentals are often available in coastal towns as many properties are owned by foreigners or wealthy Brazilians who only use them for a few months of the year.

Finding accommodation in Brazil

Some good places to search for property to rent or buy in Brazil include Jornal do Brasil and O Globo in Rio, and O Estado de Sao Paulo, all of which are Portuguese-language newspapers. Expats can also browse online property portals, but should never commit to a rental or pay any money without visiting the property in person first.

Some expats find that hiring an experienced agent instead of going it alone can be immensely helpful, but expats should be warned that the fees for their services can be high.

Renting accommodation in Brazil

In order to sign a lease, foreigners require a Brazilian Identity Card (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas or CPF), which can take a number of months to finalise. Many expats on a corporate assignment therefore live in a hotel or temporary accommodation until their residency papers are finalised.
Due to heavy traffic congestion in Brazilian cities, expats should carefully consider their proximity to work and their children’s school when deciding on an area. 
Renting property in Brazil can be expensive, although rental prices are often negotiable. A deposit equivalent to one to three months’ rent is normally expected. Electricity and other utilities, as well as property taxes, are usually excluded from the rental price and need to be paid on top of the monthly rental.
Most rental agencies and landlords are unlikely to speak English, so when searching for an apartment it’s worth taking a friend or colleague who can speak Portuguese to assist with translation.

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