Written by Ben Taylor,
Last Modified: 30th November 2021

Rental property in Portugal is currently in high demand, and not always easy to find on a long-term basis. This article contains five essential tips to help you negotiate the pitfalls of renting in Portugal.

Many people contemplating a move to Portugal explore the option of taking on a rental property before committing to a purchase. This allows them to test the water before making a big commitment, or to find their feet and be “on the ground” whilst choosing a property to buy.

With Portugal increasingly popular as a destination for tourists and expats alike, rental properties aren’t as easy to find as they once were. In tourist areas especially, rentals can be thin on the ground, especially around peak season, when owners have the temptation of lucrative summer lets.

A long term rental agreement should come with a formal contract that’s signed and sealed by the local town hall (camara).

So here are five insider tips to steer you round potential pitfalls and find the rental property of your dreams.

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1. Check the licenses

As with many activities in Portugal, there’s red tape around renting property. Depending on whether your rental is classified as short or long term, the landlord’s obligations can vary, but it’s advisable to clarify what those obligations are and ensure they’re being adhered to.

As an example, failing to obtain an aljomento local rental licence is far more of a problem for the landlord than the tenant, especially in terms of financial and legal implications. However, it’s still possible for the tenant to end up in an awkward situation if a council decrees that you’re in an illegal rental.

2. Get a contract

A long term rental agreement should come with a formal contract that’s signed and sealed by the local town hall (camara). There’s no reason for anyone to operate legally without this in place, so if such a contract is absent, it’s reason enough for suspicion.


Look for this sign, Aluga-se means “To Rent”


3. Beware of cash deals

Portugal has a thriving “black economy” and there are plenty of people among the native and expat communities who are keen to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

This may tempt people into cash deals on rental properties, but the risks are not for the faint-hearted. As with the licences mentioned above, most of the onus here is on the landlord, but a step into a property that’s the wrong side of legit is not a solid step to take.

4. Search at the right time of year

Portugal, the Algarve especially, is very seasonal. With property of all kinds in demand in the summer for short term rentals, it’s near impossible to convince anyone to enter into a long-term rental agreement between May and September.

It’s near impossible to convince anyone to enter into a long-term rental agreement between May and September

The best time to look around is when the tourists begin to depart and landlords are tempted by the prospect of a year of guaranteed income, rather than a financial drought for the following six months.

5. Ask everywhere!

Rental properties in Portugal aren’t all visible on one handy website. Real leg work is required to find good options – some of which will come via property developers or estate agents who don’t actively advertise their involvement in rentals.

While there are some agencies that specialise in this market, complete with easy to understand English websites, it’s generally possible to find cheaper options by delving a little deeper.

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The Portugal Buying Guide is designed to support you through each stage of buying property in Portugal, providing relevant, up-to-date information and tips from Portugal property experts and expats who have been through the process themselves. It helps you to:

  Impact of Brexit
  Find your property
  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

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