Tips for Renting Your First Apartment in Lisbon, Portugal

Renting your first apartment in a big city like Lisbon is without a doubt a huge step in life. However, the freedom and independence of moving out of your parents’ house can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

Going forward, you need to be financially responsible because this step comes with a lot of new tasks and responsibilities.

To ensure a smooth transition, here are seven tips for renting your first apartment in Lisbon, Portugal.

Budget wisely

Renting a good place to stay can be an expensive affair. In addition to the rent, there are other monthly expenses that go into renting such as utilities, furnishing, security deposit to cover for damages and amenities.

To prevent future financial stress, know how much rent you can afford and stick to it. Remember to include all minor expenses such as equipment installation charges, moving expenses, and tenancy application fees to prevent last-minute inconveniences and unexpected costs.

It is harder to account for all expenses, especially when moving to a new city, but you can start with the basics such as utility bills, internet installation charges, security deposits, moving expenses, and parking fees.

It is advisable to keep your rent below 30% of your income. Cost-sharing with a roommate can help you save and stay within budget. Always have some emergency funds even after settling as emergencies are bound to happen.

Think about the utilities and amenities included

This applies mainly to most of the furnished apartments that can be found across Lisbon. These rentals come with included amenities and utilities such as an updated kitchen, parking space, closet space, a pool, and gym facilities.

Amenities and utilities are much more than just nice-to-haves. Pre-installed utilities and appliances can help you save money and improve your quality of life. For instance, if you have kids, an in-unit laundry can be a lifesaver. Likewise, apartments that come with a fully-equipped kitchen can help you save a lot of money by avoiding delivering food.

Confirm with the property manager which utilities are included in the rent and whether they can add more to be included in your rent.

Prioritize your needs

Before renting your first apartment, think about your needs. These are your must-haves that will ensure that you live comfortably.

For example, if you don’t drive, you may need to look for an apartment that is near your work or public transportation. Pet owners must look for communities that are pet-friendly to accommodate their pets.

Your priority shopping list should include items that are essential such as utensils, food supplies, toiletries, a first aid kit, bedding, and clothing to suit the weather. Your wants include but are not limited to furniture and some electronics.

Do your research

Your apartment is the place you recharge and rest after a long tedious day. Therefore, ensure you find the ideal place that is right for you.

Start by checking every space during a showing. Make sure you’re comfortable with how many stairs you’re climbing to get to your apartment, the level of security, the type of lighting, and the amount of noise in the building before locking down your first apartment.

Choose your neighborhood

The neighborhood you choose will determine your quality of life and the apartment you choose. Check the proximity to grocery stores, restaurants, and your workplace.

What’s more, check the immediate area surrounding your apartment to ensure it meets your expectations. Gauge how easy it is to walk, drive or take public transport to work and other key destinations.

Take an apartment tour

Online tours have made it possible for renters to view an apartment remotely. However, pictures can be misleading. As such, take an old-fashioned apartment tour to experience the neighborhood first-hand and get the vibe of the building itself. 

For example, if you’re an introvert, you want an apartment without nosy neighbors. If you’re very sociable, you may opt for a friendly building.

Navigate the rental application

The rental application is all about getting accepted as a tenant in the apartment you choose. Your landlord may ask for documents such as your ID/ passport, Tax Identification Number (NIF), and Personal Income Tax. Some may ask for your proof of income and guarantor if you haven’t established a credit score.

Approval takes a few days, after which you will be presented with the lease agreement, also known as “Contrato de Arrendamento”. The lease agreement lays out the terms that you are expected live by during your tenancy. Read between the lines as it is a legal document subject to legal enforcement.

A lease agreement may include:

  • Rent payment and increase terms
  • Fines for tampering with the property
  • Guest policy
  • How to use the parking
  • Vacation procedures
  • The lifespan of the agreement


You don’t need to overthink and worry when looking for your first rental in Lisbon. With the tips we have shared here, the process should be a breeze. Besides the additional responsibility, living in your own apartment will be a wonderful experience.

We hope you enjoy your stay in this beautiful city!