Property Tax, condominium wages, lease agreements, landlord’s obligations and other aspects regarding housing in Brazil.
In Brazil “for rent” (“Aluga-se”) signs may be displayed on the property itself, either hanging from an apartment window or attached to the front gate of a house – the practice varies across the country. The rental property is usually managed by a real estate agency.
Furnished properties are not commonly available for rent. However, there are long stay hotels that offer an alternative choice that will also provide hotel type services.
A person applying for a rental property must have a guarantor or arrange for a bank guarantee to be provided.
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 real estate agency or owner.
The landlord, guarantor and tenant must all sign the contract. Signatures on the contract are notarized (reconhecimento de firma) at the Local Notary’s Office (Cartório) where a copy of the relevant signatures have been filed.
After the contract is signed by all parties, the realtor schedules an appointment at the apartment/house for inspection purposes and, finally, to give the keys to the tenant. The inspection serves as an important checking of the state of the property as the tenant is requited to return the property in the same state at departure.
Lease agreements are prepared in Brazilian-Portuguese and it is recommended that those who are not able to understand the clauses consult an English-speaking property lawyer or seek a translation of the document through an independent translation company before signing.
Property TAX (IPTU – Imposto Predial e Territorial Urbano)
This real estate property tax is an annual tax assessed on the ownership of urban real property. The tax, collected by the municipality where property is located, is calculated on a deemed “sales price” of the property. The tax rate varies from city to city, but may be estimated in the range of 0.3% to 1.0%. Most municipalities issue the bill in January and allow a discount if paid by a certain date as well as allowing monthly payments. Most advertised rental properties in Brazil will have the IPTU monthly payment mentioned alongside the actual monthly rental payments.
IPTU payments can be made by the owner or the tenant. If the owner pays this tax, the rent charged to the tenant will be increased to cover it.
Condominium charges (Taxa de Condomínio)
The tenant is also responsible for paying condominium charges if they rent in an apartment block with communal areas. The amount is listed separately from the monthly rental amount. The tenant will typically receive a separate monthly bill which should be paid to the condominium management company.
Landlords may request that tenants obtain house insurance covering damages by theft, fire, flooding and similar problems. It must be agreed in advance by the parties.
Insurance can also be a good option for the tenant to purchase as most insurance companies provide maintenance services for appliances, plumbing, electricity and so forth.
The landlord must rent the property with its fixtures functioning correctly. If the tenant discovers that this is not the case once services have been connected, it is up to the landlord to undertake any necessary repairs.
It is also generally the landlord’s responsibility to pay for structural repairs, external painting of the building, fire and security equipment and any other extraordinary maintenance/condominium expenses.
Rental increases are determined by current legislation applying a federally determined increase.
Renewing/Terminating rental contracts
A contract term is usually 30 months and it can be terminated or extended at its expiration. If neither the owner nor the tenant have given notice for the contract to end when the lease expires then a tacit agreement is made for it to continue. Formal renewal is carried out, usually for a further 12 or 30 months.
To take the property back at the end of the lease term, the landlord must give the tenant three months prior notice. The tenant may give 30 days prior notice to the owner at any time, but will forfeit one month’s rent and charges as compensation to the owner. If the tenant’s employer transfers him/her to another place of work the tenant must still give 30 days prior written notice to the owner but will not have to pay the charges. There must be proof of the transfer (provided by the tenant’s employer).
Notice must be given in writing. There is no requirement by law for the letter to be sent to the landlord by recorded delivery, but it is recommended.
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