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How To Find a Rental Property in Lisbon

Updated: 27 April 2022

Lisbon has become the destination of choice for a number of investors and young professionals who decide to live in Portugal. Thanks to its rich culture, mild climate, and safe environment, Lisbon seems to keep its popularity as a prime location. 

If you’re planning to make Lisbon your home, we’re here to help. This article will provide you with useful information on how to find an apartment to rent in Lisbon, how much it costs, and more. 

Your Guide to Renting Apartment in Lisbon

Finding an apartment to rent in Lisbon at a reasonable cost, can be a challenge. Like most European capitals, rents in Lisbon are generally much higher than in the rest of the country. 

This makes it a bit difficult to find apartments for rent in Lisbon, but it is not an impossible task either. With patience, information, and guidance you will be able to find your home in Lisbon.

The cost of renting an apartment in Lisbon varies based on whether you want a short-term or long-term contract. Note that you might encounter landlords who are hesitant to sign long-term rental agreements. Instead, they prefer to make short-term leases to tourists.

Costs To Rent an Apartment in Lisbon

The cost of a rental apartment in Lisbon will depend on the property type, amenities, and district. However, to give you a general idea, we’ve compiled the below data with figures we’ve collected from Idealista in March 2022:

  • If you’re looking for a studio apartment (approx. size 20m²), the average budget you should spare is €650. 
  • If you’re looking for a 1-bedroom apartment (approx. size 50 m²), the average budget you should spare is €800.
  • If you’re looking for a 2-bedroom apartment (approx. size 83 m²), the average budget you should spare is €1,100.
  • If you’re looking for a 3-bedroom apartment (approx. size 120 m²), the average budget you should spare is €2,000.

Note that these figures are for illustrative purposes only and when you’re searching houses you might find cheaper or more expensive apartments.

How To Find Apartments for Rent in Lisbon

Fortunately, you can start your search from wherever you are as most rental properties are currently advertised on websites. Depending on your rental profile, you may find websites specific to your purpose, such as Airbnb, if you are looking for a temporary property.

In any case, there is a huge variety of websites for renting an apartment in Lisbon available on the market. We recommend that you use more than one of them to be introduced to different properties.

  • Idealista
  • Casa Sapo
  • Imovirtual
  • Airbnb

Apartment Terminology in Lisbon

Before you start house hunting in Lisbon, you should first become familiar with apartment terminology in Portugal. Here are the most common house types in Lisbon:

  • T0: These properties are integrated, that is, the living room, bedroom, and kitchen are part of the same environment. 
  • T1: These properties refer to one bedroom and a living room setting. The bedroom here is a separate room, separated from the living room by a wall and with a door. 
  • T1+1: A T1+1 is a bedroom and living room apartment that has another small “bedroom”, a kind of subdivision of the house that can be used for storage, for example. 
  • T2, T3, T4, and T5: the number that accompanies the typology refers o the number of rooms in the house. The most common are T2 and T3, these properties can comfortably accommodate a family with children.

Rental Contracts in Lisbon

The lease agreement is known as “Contrato de Arrendamento” and specifies the length of the lease, how much notice you must give before moving out, and when the rent might be increased. This is the formal manner of obtaining a contract, and most landlords in Lisbon need it.

This formal route is recommended since it provides legal protection in the event of a disagreement. 

The contract should include information about the tenant and landlord, such as nationality, unit information, lease duration, and the amount and due date of rent.

In Portugal, rent is normally agreed upon between the landlord and the renter, with annual reviews permitted. Rental increases are limited. At least 30 days before the planned increase takes effect, your landlord must notify you in writing.

Before you move in, most landlords will ask for the equivalent of two months’ rent as a security deposit. Landlords can keep the deposit for the whole term of the tenancy.

Typically, rent does not include utilities like gas and electricity. On top of your rent, set aside money for them.

Required Documents

When you rent an apartment in Lisbon, you’ll need to present some documents. Although the owners might ask for extra documentation in some cases, such as personal income tax, the general requirements are as follows:

  • Identification card – Residence Permit or Passport
  • NIF – Tax Identification Number

Note that, although it’s not compulsory, some landlords might also demand a guarantor. If you’re not able to provide one, you can be asked to submit a bank guarantee.

Moving in and Moving Out

Inventory 

The landlord will normally compile an inventory before you move in, which documents the state of the house and specifies any objects that come with it. You’ll be expected to leave the property in the same condition that you found it, but normal wear and tear are acceptable.

Notice

After six months of your lease, you can normally give your landlord notice. If you have more than a year left on your contract, you must give 120 days’ notice; if you have less than a year, you can usually offer 60 days’ notice. It’s also possible to terminate the tenancy if your landlord breaks the contract, such as by neglecting to complete necessary renovations.

If your landlord needs the house for himself or is doing renovation work that necessitates the property being empty, they can give you notice.

If you have an open-ended contract with your landlord, they must give you two years’ notice if they want to end the tenancy for any reason.

Tenancy Rights

Tenancy regulations in Portugal tend to favor tenants, making it harder for landlords to evict tenants who have signed long-term leases.

However, because there are scammers out there, it’s critical to be sure you’re covered legally. Whether you’re renting a home for the short or long term, make sure the property you’re interested in has “alojamento local” which is the rental license.

Tips for Renting an Apartment in Lisbon

Check the Neighborhood

Before you start house viewings, you’d better become familiar with neighborhoods in Lisbon and what kind of amenities they offer. Are you looking for a quiet and peaceful environment? Do you prefer an area with a lot of cafes and restaurants? Search the neighborhood carefully to see if they match your expectations.

Keep an Eye on for Rental Advertisements

The rental market in Lisbon is very dynamic and apartments for rent disappear quickly. This is why make sure you keep updated about the new rentals. If you find an apartment that you like, arrange a visit as soon as possible.

Watch out for Scams

If you like an apartment in Lisbon and want to pay a visit, be careful with the scams that are on the market. Don’t make any financial transfer before visiting an apartment. You might even encounter some scammers who ask for a deposit even for a house visit. This is why getting professional help from a reputable company is vital, especially if you’re not familiar with the market.

Read the Rental Contract Carefully 

Before signing the lease, read the document very carefully to know your rights and duties. Pay attention to all the information, including the amount paid in the deposit, as well as the number of advance rents that were paid.

Conclusion

Lisbon offers great housing options for foreigners who want to live in this beautiful city; just make sure you do your homework first to ensure you’re properly prepared for the move. When looking for a mid-to-long-term apartment for rent in Lisbon, speaking to a professional company might be a good start.

If you are looking for a rental property in Lisbon, expert advice will save you time and money. At Get Golden Visa, we have an AMI license to practice real estate brokerage in Portugal. We have a local office in Lisbon with legal professionals and chartered real estate experts in our team. Contact us today to find your dream property in Lisbon!

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