Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Difficulties of Finding a Place to Live in Rio de Janeiro

Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


The most famous city in Brazil is also the most expensive to live in. High prices are only one of the headaches felt by foreigners looking for real estate, as shown in this article.

With its postcard scenarios and its great weather, Rio de Janeiro is on top of the list of many foreigners looking for a place to live in Brazil. Cidade Maravilhosa, however, might not be so wonderful for those trying to find a residential space. We listed some common problems faced by those who move to Rio.

High Prices

Rio de Janeiro is the city with the most expensive residential spaces in Brazil. At the beginning of 2014, a square meter in Rio would cost an average of BRL 9,940, according to the FipeZap index. However, the prices may easily surpass this amount, since the square meter in more valuable areas may cost up to BRL 22,000. The most expensive neighborhoods are:

  • Leblon
  • Ipanema
  • Lagoa
  • Gávea
  • Jardim Botânico

These areas are all located in the southern Rio, which is the main target of foreigners looking for a place to live in the city. One neighborhood that does not appear in the previous list but is considered interesting is Barra da Tijuca. The area is located on the west side of the city, offers good residential spaces, leisure options, and 27 kilometers of beach. All of that for more reasonable prices. The con, however, is that Barra is considerably far from the areas above and from the city center.

At the other end, residential spaces located in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro can cost only 10% of a real estate in Leblon, for example. The cheapest areas are:

  • Pavuna
  • Guadalupe
  • Cordovil
  • Marechal Hermes
  • Benfica

It is important to highlight that some of these neighborhoods, like Pavuna, have the highest crime rates in the city.

Problems Faced by Foreigners Buying a Property

The necessary procedures to buy a property are pretty much the same for both foreigners and Brazilians. There is a list of needed documents that, in general, can be acquired quite easily. They are:

Problems Faced by Foreigners Renting a Property

Brazilian landlords are still not completely convinced that renting a space for foreigners might be a good idea, even though this has changed a bit over the past years with big events being planned, such as the World Cup and the Olympics. Many are still afraid to rent their properties, though, imagining that the tenant might leave the country without honoring his debts.

Need of a fiador

A common obstacle for foreigners looking for a place to rent is the need of a fiador, the name of the person responsible for the tenant's debt in case the payment is not made. Landlords usually require that the fiador live in the same city where the property is located, which might be a big obstacle for immigrants.

Some alternatives for this issue are:

  • A security deposit, better known in Brazil as depósito caução. This allows the tenant to deposit three months of rent in advance, as a warranty. If he does not honor his debts, the landlord may withdraw this money. If he does pay everything, this money is returned at the end of the contract.
  • Seguro fiança, which basically consists of a service offered by insurance companies where they list themselves as a fiador. The con here is that the money spent with the company is not returned later.

Renter’s rights

The rights granted to renters are not clearly defined sometimes, especially for immigrants that are not fully aware of the common rules in Brazil. Some of the crucial renter rights are:

  • Legal priority to buy the rented property, if it is put on sale
  • The renter is only responsible for ordinary expenses of the residential space. Extraordinary ones, like renovation work due to structural damage, is an obligation of the landlord
  • If the property is located in a residential building, the renter is also not responsible for security expenses or the renovation of common areas.