The process of renting an office in Brazil can be very bureaucratic. From the choice of the property to the regularisation process, there are some particularities involved. In this article we will look at how to rent an office in Brazil and what the particularities of this process are.
Choose the right property
The first step is to choose the property. This can be done through classified portals, advertising on buildings or through a real estate agent. Whatever your choice, have in mind that you must always consider if the property meets your needs in terms of:
- Location and access to public transportation and parking spaces
- Characteristics of the neighbourhood
- Infrastructure services such as water, sewage, electricity, etc. You should also check carefully what internet services are available in the building as some of them are not connected to the fiber infrastructure. Most of the buildings in urban areas are served by telephone services
Check if the property meets legal and regulatory requirements made by the municipality, the state and federal government. At the local prefecture, ask for the floor plan to check if there are no subsequent changes or reduction of the initial area. Ask for the “habite-se” document and check if the activity you are planning to execute is in accordance to the zoning law, known in Portuguese as Lei de zoneamento.
There are some classified portals that may assist you regarding the choice of the real estate. Here are some of them:
- Viva Real
- Lugar Certo
Some of them work better for a specific area of Brazil, like Lugar Certo, that has most of its ads in the state of Minas Gerais. Also, be aware that all information is only available in Portuguese.
Documents and rental agreements
The agreement is issued by the real estate agent and will only be available in Portuguese. Also, the tenant will have to notarise the documents in a special category, called valor econômico, and the costs for this notarisation must be paid by the tenant.
Ask the landlord for the updated documents that prove their ownership of the property. This document is issued by the notary office, or cartório de registro de imóveis in Portuguese.
Here are the items that are mandatory in the contract:
- Name and qualification of the landlord, tenant and guarantor
- Description and address of the rented property
- Rental price and index for the yearly increase
- Payment method and where it is going to be executed
- Guarantee modality (guarantor, deposit or seguro-fiança)
- Specification of the charges to be paid (condominium, water, electricity, IPTU and so forth)
- Specification of how the property will be used (commercial or residential purposes)
- Contract duration
- Duration clause
- Inspection term (must contain the description of the property conditions)
All the expenses related to the rental agreement must be paid by the landlord.
Legal aspects and seguro-fiança
The Brazilian tenant law, known as Lei do Inquilinato, allows the landlord to demand from the tenant some form of guarantee that can be:
- A deposit cheque or cash, usually the equivalent of 3 months rent. The deposit option is becoming less common now as many landlords prefer to have a guarantor or seguro-fiança. The amount is deposited in a savings account shared by the two parts, and must be reimbursed to the tenant at the end of the rental period, when the keys are delivered back to the landlord
- Guarantor, a third person involved in the process (not the tenant or the landlord) who takes full responsibility for the payment in case the tenant is unable to pay the rent
- Seguro-fiança, an insurance that guarantees that the lessor will receive the payment for the rental, even if the tenant does not pay for it
The best option for a foreigner coming to Brazil would be the deposit, as they probably do not know anybody who could be a guarantor. However, over the last couple of years, the seguro-fiança has been practically mandatory for anyone who wants to rent a property. Many insurance companies offer this product, which requires a pre-approval process involving the submission of documents and the payment of a fee for the verification of the documentation. This fee is not reimbursed even if the insurance is not approved.
Seguro-fiança tends to be a far more costly option to the tenant, adding the equivalent of 1 to 1.5-months rent per year to cover the insurance. Different from the deposit, this amount is not reimbursed after the rental period is finished.