By Lindsay Spratt, Sub Editor
RIO DE JANEIRO – Finding an apartment can be difficult in any major city, whether it is a holiday rental or longer-term. Rio has a lot to offer both tourists and those coming to spend months or years in the Marvelous City, but there are some important cautions to heed before ringing up the nearest realtor, which The Gringo Times has carefully detailed for you in this guide.
If you are looking for a holiday rental, an apartment offers more independence than hotels and hostels, with the option of preparing home-cooked meals, either for purposes of intimacy or to save money on costly Rio restaurant bills. The cheapest type of apartment you will find in Rio is known as a conjugado (studio) and consists of an open-plan apartment often with only basic kitchen utilities, and the most expensive are luxurious penthouses with sea-views and swimming pools.
The majority of holiday rentals are found in Ipanema and Copacabana as they are closest to the most popular beaches and New Year’s festivities. An important thing to keep in mind is that apartments over New Year and Carnival book up very quickly, and to secure your first choice of property you will need to start looking in May or June the year before.
Recommended websites offering holiday rentals include www.apartments.com.br, who offer one-bedroom apartments and luxurious penthouses with swimming pools. Prices are on request. Another useful site is www.rioflatrental.com who offer a two-week package for three to four people in a one-bedroom apartment in Copacabana for R$110 per night.
For those looking to rent longer-term in Rio, the classifieds section in O Globo newspaper is the first port of call, with the Sunday edition offering the most extensive selection. The preferred method of contact is by telephone as apartments are often advertized, shown and rented in the same day. There are also various websites such as O Globo’s online classifieds zap and olx, aluguetemporada and imovelweb.
There are two main options for renting long-term in Rio. The first is with a yearly or thirty-month contract. This is the most economic way to rent but bear in mind that the apartment normally comes unfurnished. The snag with this type of rental, apart from the hefty deposit, is that you need a fiador. This is someone who owns property in Rio de Janeiro state legally responsible for the conditions stipulated in your rental contract if you fail to pay or damage the property.
As with holiday rentals, the most expensive neighborhoods are Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana, and we may add Lagoa and Urca to this list. More affordable properties can be found in Botafogo, Flamengo, Humaitá, Santa Teresa, Glória, Catete and Barra da Tijuca.
The other option for long-term rentals is to rent by season, known as ‘por temporada’. This will involve a contract lasting between one and three months and may be renewable for years, at the owner’s discretion. A pitfall for this type of rental is the possibility of the price increasing from December to March, by up to R$500. If you are not willing to pay this inflation then it is a good idea to ask about the owner’s policy in the first call, to avoid viewing apartments you would dismiss on this basis.
This is in fact where a good grasp of Portuguese will come in very useful. When you inquire about an apartment, you should prepare a list of your necessities such as a four-ring stove-top with oven, and only visit properties you know to have these facilities. If you don’t like noise, check the apartment is not facing a main road, and if the price seems suspiciously low it may be near a favela.
Expect to pay up to R$2,500 for a furnished, one-bedroom apartment in Ipanema or Leblon, R$1,800 in Copacabana, R$1,500 in Botafogo and R$1,000 in Santa Teresa.