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Renting Long-Term Accommodation in Lisbon

23 comments from other Portugalist readers

Finding medium to long-term accommodation in Lisbon isn’t as easy as it once was, or as cheap as it once was, but don’t let that put you off. Lisbon is one of the best cities in the world and, although this is a hurdle you’ll have to get past, it’ll be worth it if it means living here.

Lisbon’s housing problem

Before we get to where to look for long term rentals, you should know that Lisbon has a housing crisis at the moment. Part of this is due to Lisbon’s sudden surge in popularity. In the past few years, Lisbon has become the European city to visit. Everyone I meet is either planning to visit Lisbon or has already been.

Around the same time Lisbon started appearing on every travel blog and magazine as the place to visit, Airbnb went mainstream. Rather than rent out their properties on a long-term basis, landlords in Lisbon decided it would be much more profitable to rent them on Airbnb instead.

They weren’t wrong either. Renting an apartment in Lisbon starts at around €650, although there are definitely properties that are cheaper than that: many older Lisboetas have long term rental agreements where they pay as little as €50 per month. Yes, that’s not a mistake: some older residents, particularly in Alfama, have very cheap long term rental agreements.

But even at €1,000 per month, it often makes more financial sense for landlords to rent on Airbnb – especially because the tax they pay for renting to tourists is cheaper than renting to locals.

Ever since both Airbnb and Lisbon became so popular, Lisbon has had a housing problem. There are fewer rentals available, and those that are available are more expensive than they should be.

The combination of these two things, Lisbon becoming popular and everyone using Airbnb (or putting their apartment on Airbnb), means that finding medium to long-term accommodation in Lisbon is now very difficult. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and it’s certainly not as challenging as places like Berlin, but it can be difficult.

Staying Medium-Term (Roughly 1-6 months)

Despite Airbnb becoming less and less of an attractive option for monthly lettings in Lisbon, it’s still one of the main options for people living in Lisbon for less than six months.

With rental prices on the increase, you will probably need to haggle to get a fair price. You’ll also need to book quite far in advance to find a property that has several months free.

Spotahome is one Airbnb alternative that’s focused on people that want to rent on a mid to long-term basis (tip: they’re offering 10% off their booking fee to Portugalist readers with the code PTUGALIST437). 

Another site to look at is Nestpick. It aggregates listings from other sites like only-apartments, beroomers, and erasmu, making it easy to search and compare in one go. Users can filter results to see properties that have amenities like internet, a dishwasher, pool access, or an en-suite bathroom.

LongTermLetttings.com and Sublet.com are two other sites to look at. At the time of writing, Long Term Lettings has just 2 properties in Lisbon and Sublet has 22.

Expat.com sometimes has apartments in Lisbon for rent, although it’s usually just a few at a time. I’ve looked at other expat websites like Angloinfo in the past, but never had much luck. You will find one or two people letting properties on there, and maybe you’ll find the one, but don’t expect much more than that.

Red Apple Apartments focus on ‘corporate lettings,’ and apartments tend to cost between €1500 and €2500 per month (bills included). It’s too expensive for most people visiting Lisbon, but maybe not for everyone.

LisbonApartments.com has some monthly rentals with internet included (some also include utilities). Prices for a 1-bedroom apartment start at around €800 per month, not including bills.

Sabbatical Homes is a website that’s primarily aimed at academics, but is open to everyone. It usually has around 20+ properties listed, which isn’t a huge number, but it’s always worth looking at. Because these are other people’s homes you’re renting, as opposed to standard rentals, they’re usually very nicely decorated.

Uniplaces, a Lisbon-based startup which focuses on student accommodation, is also popular with digital nomads visiting Lisbon for a few months. It’s like Airbnb: you can search for apartments with amenities like Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and heating. It’s not as popular as Airbnb, however, and so most of the properties don’t have reviews yet.

Prices for a 1-bedroom start from around €650, with bills included. It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t have to be a student to rent through Uniplaces, and you can rent for as little as 1-month.

Erasmusu is another student-focused website that seems to allow professionals. It’s not as easy to filter listings as Uniplaces is, but worth looking at as it has quite a few properties.

Staying in Lisbon long term (6+ months)

As with any other country, in Portugal standard rentals can either be rented through a lettings agency or through a private landlord. The cheapest of these two options to rent from a private landlord. Most landlords post their listings on classifieds websites like OLX and Sapo, but occasionally on other places like Facebook groups that focus on accommodation in Lisbon.

Classifieds Websites

OLXSapo, and Custo Justo are three of the main classifieds websites in Portugal, similar to Craigslist in the US or Gumtree in the UK and Australia. There’s also property-focused classifieds sites like Idealista and Imovirtual.

(You will find apartments advertised on Craigslist here, but a lot tend to be scams. The same goes for expatriates.com. It’s worth having a look, but be wary: if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.)

Note: Portuguese property websites list apartments and houses as a T0, T1, T2, etc. A T0 is a studio, a T1 is a 1-bedroom property, and a T2 is a 2-bedroom property etc.

Facebook Groups

There are a number of Facebook groups dedicated to apartments and rooms for rent in Lisbon such as Casas e apartamentos para arrendar em LisboaArrenda Lisboa Low Cost – ApartamentosLisboa – Quartos e Apartamentos.

You’ll need to apply quickly whenever an apartment is listed, as most have several thousand members.

Renting through an Estate Agent

While some people prefer to rent privately, others prefer to do it through an agent. Most agents list their properties on sites like Olx, Sapo, and Idealista, but it may also be worth visiting them as well. Two of the largest in Lisbon are Century21 and Remax.

Renting a room in Lisbon

Rooms are a little easier to rent than apartments, and are often available to rent or sublet on a shorter term basis. Rooms, like apartments, tend to be posted on classifieds sites like OLX and Custo Justo, but you’ll also find them on flatshare specific sites like Roomster, BQuarto, and BeRoomers. 

Be sure to read through the full list of sites that list rooms for rent in Lisbon

Know of any other places to find long-term rentals in Lisbon? Let other visitors know in the comments below. We also have articles which discuss renting in Porto and The Algarve as well. 

Last updated in May 2019.
If you spot a mistake, leave a comment below.

23 thoughts on “Renting Long-Term Accommodation in Lisbon”

Leave a comment or ask a question below. I try and answer all of them.
  1. I am interested in renting a studio or one bed or small townhouse in Lisbon 1 year from 1 October 2019
    Best regards
    Ryan Olsen

    • Hi Ryan,

      My advice would be to look at some of the Facebook groups mentioned above, classifieds websites like OLX or idealista, and to contact real estate companies.

      James

  2. Hello James,

    We have a house in Lisbon and we are looking for an agency to manage the property.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you:)
    Sena

  3. Wonderful article! So thorough.
    I wish to rent in central Lisbon for 1 or 2 months. I will be traveling with my 5lb Certified Emotional Support Service Dog. In the US landlords must allow my dog. What is the case in Portugal?

    • Hi Betty,

      Thanks for the kind comments.

      From speaking with other pet owners, I think it’s quite hard to rent with a dog here. I don’t know whether special allowances are given to emotional support dogs.

      Hopefully someone else who knows a little more about this can comment.

      • Hi James
        I was just about to ask what you know of the new ruling that landlords are not allowed to refuse pets?! I’ve heard rumours but can’t establish them as 100% true yet.
        We have not had any problem so far with landlords accepting our dog – but we’re now desperately searching for something more permanent and affordable, as the Airbnb host who agreed to our dog staying in our room is now claiming that it’s hampering the (constant!) viewings of his house that’s for sale (never advised or agreed to).

        I’m hoping that the generally easy acceptance of pets so far (the first house we rented was furnished with leather couches and the landlord didn’t even bat an eye!) means that it will not become a problem – and I’m sure an emotional support dog would be even more probable.

        • Hi Janine,

          Sorry to hear about your Airbnb problems. I’ve heard of a few people who are in rentals that are being sold and it’s a similar story.

          I’m not sure as it’s difficult to find information on this. I know there was a ruling with regards to restaurants, but I couldn’t find any info about rentals.

          Even if this non-discrimination ruling exists, I don’t see what’s to stop the landlord choosing other tenants. It would take quite a lot of work on the potential tenant’s part to prove it was because of the pets. Maybe I’m missing something here, but not sure how this would change things too much.

  4. Hey James, thanks for this, most comprehensive explainer I’ve seen so far! How far in advance would you say it’s possible to find a place? As in, would most places expect you to move in within the week or is it possible to find somewhere a few months ahead of time?

    • Hi Victoria,

      Thanks for the kind words about the article.

      It does seem like the majority are advertised when they’re actually available rather than ahead of time. I’m sure there are exceptions to that, but I think this is the case in a lot of places and not just Portugal. This seems to be especially true when someone is just renting a room.

      A lot of people come to Lisbon and rent somewhere short-term (e.g. Airbnb) while they’re looking. This is normally cheaper and easier to do during the winter months, if you have the ability to choose when you arrive. Otherwise, you may have to stay a little further out while you look for somewhere to live.

  5. Hi James!
    Great and thorough article!

    What would be the areas or properties of Lisbon mainly housed by expats or long term foreigners?

    • Hi Janis,

      Anywhere close to the city centre and that’s nice. Alcântara, Campo de Ourique, Estrella, and Graça all seem to have a lot of English-speaking expats. Arroios seems to be very multicultural, and popular with other nationalities like Brazilians. You’ll find expats in just about every neighbourhood, but the nicer neighbourhoods near the city centre tend to have big concentrations of expats.

      Cascais, near Lisbon, is also a big expat hub.

  6. This information is very helpful. I am moving to Portugal to retire in mid August. I have opted for a very small town just south of Porto called Espinho . I was wondering if you could recommend an agency to find an apartment
    Thanks
    Doris

    • Hi Doris,

      I don’t have one that I can recommend, sorry.

      I hope the move to Espinho goes well. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  7. Hi
    I am actually in Lisbon now looking for complete furnished apartment for one year or more , including air condition if possible, either elevator or first floor ,in Lisbon, ready to go inn immediately.
    If you have a phone number I will call you .
    Near Lisbon second .

  8. Hello all need house on rent for 4 people. 1 couple and 2mens. If anyone have any links let me know please thanks

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