Accommodation in Portugal
Expats do not need to worry about finding suitable accommodation in Portugal.
There is a wide range of housing options available – from downtown apartment blocks, to condominiums, to rustic farmhouses – and the price of accommodation in Portugal, relative to one's salary, is by all accounts very reasonable.
Expats, especially those that do not speak good Portuguese, should consider hiring a reputable estate agent to assist them in finding a suitable home for the duration of their stay in the country.
Types of property in Portugal
The standard of accommodation in Portugal can vary hugely from area to area, and from building to building. Newer apartment blocks are modern, well-finished, and structurally sound; while older buildings, although beautifully rustic at times, can often have problems with plumbing and electricity supply, among other things. Newer buildings might have air conditioning (which expats moving to Portugal from colder climates will probably appreciate), while central heating is rare and largely unnecessary. Property in Portugal is generally quite spacious – particularly by British and northern European standards.
Most rental properties in Portugal will come furnished; however, if expats are looking to rent a large house, it might be unfurnished. Shipping existing furniture to Portugal is an option, but the costs can run quite high – it will probably end up being more economical for expats to simply buy furniture once they are settled in Portugal. There are plenty of reputable furniture stores such as IKEA to be found in the large urban centres in Portugal.
Home security is not a pressing issue in Portugal, although in tourist areas, minor break-ins can sometimes occur. Modern apartment blocks in Portugal are usually fitted with electronic access panels, deadlocks and shutters – and for the most part, expats report that they feel safe in their homes, and confident in the security of their possessions.
Finding property in Portugal
Upon relocating to the Iberian Peninsula, most expats will probably look to rent property in Portugal. As it is such a massively popular holiday destination, short-term rentals are extremely easy to come by in Portugal (especially in the coastal areas). Long-term rentals are available, but aren't usually advertised nearly as well, so expats should ask around to find the best deals. Estate agents can be very helpful in this regard. Typically, long-term leases are signed on a one-year basis, and require one month's rent as deposit money.
Renting property in Portugal
Once expats have found a suitable property in Portugal they'll need to sign a rental contract (contrato de arrendamento) regardless of whether it's a short- or long-term rental. Some landlords or agents may have contracts available in English but in many cases expats will need to have the document professionally translated. The rental contract will establish the legal obligations of both the tenant and landlord. It will also state what is and is not included in the rental price.
When moving into a property it is best to carry out a full inventory of the fittings and fixtures. This ensures that everything is left in a good condition upon the termination of the lease. If there is any damage to the property this will be deducted from the security deposit.