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Finding suitable accommodation in Rio de Janeiro is likely to be a daunting task for new arrivals. Although there is a wide variety of accommodation to choose from, space is limited in this bustling metropolis and finding a home in a good area of Rio can be a challenge.
Expats looking for housing in Rio will have to act fast when they find what they’re looking for. Competition is fierce, and decent apartments in good areas do not stay on the market for long.
Types of accommodation in Rio de Janeiro
There is a variety of accommodation available in Rio and generally something to suit every taste and budget. Property ranges from apartments to condominiums and houses with gardens. The majority of expats live in apartment blocks or closed condominiums with onsite facilities such as swimming pools, gyms and 24-hour security.
Most accommodation in Rio is rented unfurnished: this may even include the absence of light fittings and basic kitchen appliances. Generally, the standard of accommodation in Rio is good, particularly at newer establishments. Apartments in newer blocks and condominiums are usually quite large.
The cost of accommodation in Rio can vary depending on the area and amenities available. Generally, accommodation in the more popular expat-friendly neighbourhoods is extremely expensive. The proximity of accommodation to Rio’s city centre and beaches will influence the cost of rent. The closer one is to the city centre or beaches, the more one will usually pay.
Finding accommodation in Rio de Janeiro
Rentals are usually advertised in the local newspapers and classifieds. Several online portals specialise in rental properties in Rio de Janeiro, with websites in Portuguese generally offering accommodation at better prices than English websites that are aimed at foreigners. Word-of-mouth and networking is a good way to go when it comes to finding accommodation.
It may also be useful to work through a rental agent who will be able to provide listings of appropriate properties. They will also be able to negotiate with the landlord and will understand all the legalities involved.
Renting accommodation in Rio de Janeiro
Most property owners and landlords are unlikely to speak English, and it’s a good idea to take a friend or trusted colleague who can speak Portuguese along to assist with the negotiations.
Leases in Rio are usually signed for a one to three-year period. Though shorter-term options are available, and landlords are sometimes willing to negotiate. A deposit equivalent to one to three months’ rent is normally expected.
To rent property in Rio de Janeiro, expats will need to provide a number of certified documents. Those without a formal or sufficient income, such as retirees or students, will need to find someone to act as a guarantor or fiador.
Electricity and other utilities are usually excluded from the rental price and need to be paid on top of the monthly rental. It is often the tenant's responsibility to organise utility accounts with their local municipality.
Expats who have enlisted the help of a real-estate agent will find that they can usually assist with getting utilities connected. In some cases, the administration department of a particular apartment building or housing complex will help new tenants with this.
"I find rent prices very high here. Generally, apartments come unfurnished and Cariocas are generally quite happy to do some improvement work on an apartment when they move. I think this is more difficult for the expat as they are generally here for a fixed and relatively short period of time and are thus less inclined to invest in home improvements. It can be very difficult to find an apartment that is ready to move into." Read more about Irish expat Niamh's experiences in Rio.
Are you an expat living in Rio de Janeiro?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Rio de Janeiro. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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