Leases and Rental Agreements

Understand the different elements of the tenancy agreement when renting property in Brazil...

The lease agreement or tenancy contract (Contrato de Locação de Imóvel) stipulates terms and conditions of rental and rental rates and is prepared by the estate agency or owner. The contract term is usually 30 months, but this can be interrupted during the period or extended at the end. When renting directly from the property owner (private rentals) it is more common to sign a lease for 12 months with an option to extend.

The contract is signed by the landlord and the lessee. Each signature of the lessee on the contract is notarised (reconhecimento de firma) at the Cartorio (Local Registry Office), where the lessee has their signature accepted and registered as legal and correct. This is carried out by the estate agent or owner, who usually also covers the small cost of doing this. The lessee does not need to be present.

Rental agreement contracts are prepared in Brazilian-Portuguese, and it is recommended that those who are not able to understand the clauses should consult an English-speaking property lawyer or seek translation of the document through an independent translation company before signing.

If renting a property in Brazil directly with the owner, the lessee can expect a contract to include the following points:

  • The owner's name, profession, civil status, RG (Brazilian identity card) number and Individual Taxpayer’s number (Cadastro de Pessoa Física - CPF)
  • The lessee's name, profession, civil status, passport number and CPF number
  • Guarantor’s (fiador) name and profession (if applicable)
  • Type of property: residential or commercial and activity of property (residential or commercial)
  • Duration of contract, including the start and end dates and the notice period required (usually 30 days)
  • Payment date: the day of every month when the rent should be paid and is due, and any information on late payment penalties
  • The monthly rental amount
  • The deposit amount
  • Information on rental increases (this can only be increased by the limit that the law permits)

Extra clauses and an inventory (vistoria) should also be included in the contract. The inventory should be signed by the owner and the lessee. Common additional clauses are:

  • That the lessee must re-paint the inside of the property before leaving
  • Information on IPTU (property tax) payments (who has the obligation to pay, and how much)

IPTU (property tax) payments

IPTU payments can be paid by the owner or the tenant. Most advertised rental properties in Brazil will have the IPTU monthly payment mentioned alongside the actual monthly rental payments. If the owner pays this tax, the rent charged to the tenant will be increased to cover it. Another option is for the owner and the tenant to split the payment equally, the tenant will pay their percentage on a monthly basis to the owner. If the property has two joint owners expect to pay 33 percent of the IPTU.