Though renting an apartment or house in Portugal has some similarities to the process in the U.S., there are significant differences as well. In America, the landlord typically specifies the rental amount and which deposits (security, rent pre-payment) they require. Usually there is not much room for negotiation. That's not necessarily the case here.
In an earlier series of posts we detailed what it took to rent our first apartment in Porto. We have now rented our second and with additional experience we felt we should lay out even more info for those who might navigate these unknown waters. This new series will discuss some of the unique particulars of renting an apartment or house here, translate the various Portuguese terms you'll find in rental ads, and share some tips and warnings about the process. Here we go!
One of the curiosities of Portuguese rental law is that your landlord can ask you to vacate your apartment if they need it for a close relative (mother, father, sister, brother, that kind of close.) Since our landlord indicated he was interested in our apartment for his sister, we began to hunt for a new home. This didn't bother us as we had been thinking of moving at the end of our two-year lease (would have been August 2019) so this was just a few months' early. Also, we wanted a bit more space as the current 850 square foot just didn't give us enough elbow room.
We decided to work with a realtor (Aida Vaz from ReMax Oceanus) who came highly recommended by fellow expats. Despite going through zillions of rental ads--I admit to be incredibly picky--we ended up viewing only one apartment. It was out of our initial price range but magnificent in all regards. The only thing it was lacking was a veranda and that would have just been icing on the top.
The new space had a big enough kitchen we both could work in there at once, all new appliances, tons and tons of storage, two larger bedrooms so we could also use them as offices and a huge living room with windows on three sides. Did I mention the garden at the front of the property (we can't see the road from our building) with two hundred year old trees? (See image above).
Yeah, we were done. We signed the lease on April 1, moved the small stuff ourselves (argh) and had movers come for the big stuff on the 8th. Finally things have settled down enough for us to post on the blog and our next series will be an in-depth look at this move. Because like anything in this country, you always learn new stuff.
Oh, and our cat loves the place. And that, I suspect, is the ultimate thumbs up (if she had them) on this move.
Last month I posted a video of a young couple (and their two wee sons) doing a quick tour of Lisbon. This time they're in Sintra and moving just as fast. A short train ride west of the capital, Sintra is filled with delightful castles, picturesque streets and the ruins of a Moorish castle. Travel, Eat, Repeat shows you some of the sites in this town while also sampling their fabulous food. Just be aware -- during tourist season this city is packed with visitors.
We belong to a number of Facebook sites dedicated to people either looking into moving to Portugal, those in the process of moving, or those who have settled into the country. One such a Facebook page is Americans & FriendsPT which shared this really energetic video of two parents and two toddlers tackling Lisbon (and its yummy food choices) all in one day.
Let's be honest: Even when I was twenty-five I wouldn't have tried this. Still, these adults have got it down to a science. And so much food!!! Enjoy!
Happened to see this handy overview of what's legal here. Most of this I already knew, but I wasn't aware of the number of guns available to the general population given Portugal's low firearm-related murder rate.
We were engaged in a tremendous amount of planning leading up to our relocation to Portugal. Being an engineer by trade, I had actually prepared a GANTT chart with all the projects that were needed prior to our leaving the U.S., a process that involved a lot of reading and research to make sure that everything was checked and double-checked. We made sure to have legal assistance every step of the way.
Of course, there was an unexpected glitch: my name.
Porto has many fine historical sites and the Mercado do Bolhão is certainly one of them. It's always a treat to wander the aisles looking at the fresh fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, cheese and flowers. While the original site is being renovated--it will reopen in 2020--a temporary market has been established nearby. But there's more to Bolhão than just that goods for sale.
'For these “descendants of Bolhão,” as they call themselves, the market is home. Graça dos Santos, a fish vendor, sums up the sentiment of many: “My mother carried me in her womb in Bolhão. I was born here, I want to die here.”The traditions they uphold reach still further back.'
Can you read the full article here.
Like every city, Porto is comprised of interconnected neighborhoods, each giving the whole its own individual flavor. However Porto doesn't have that "big city feel", something that is very important to the Portuguese and to those of us having the good fortune to move here.
This article, Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Porto, courtesy of Cindy Christensen, highlights a few of our most interesting and friendly, locales.
A recent survey by Bloomberg has ranked various nations' healthcare efficiency scores and the U.S. isn't doing so hot. Currently at #54, the States' high healthcare costs aren't adding any additional years to one's lifespan.
While Portugal has issues of its own (a month-long nurses' strike is likely to begin Nov. 22nd) the cost of healthcare is not egregious. As residents, we can attest to the fact that it is considerably less expensive, especially prescription medications. Because we are not citizens, we are required to have private medical insurance, which at present is about $250 per month for both of us. That's roughly equal to Medicare Part B costs, which we do not have since we live out of the country.
Harold is a former software engineer. Jana is an author. Together they're exploring their new life in Portugal.