To the thousands of Britons who already own a home in Portugal the answer is easy. Top of the list has to be the weather. Portugal enjoys an enviable climate in the summer, and many parts of the country, such as the Algarve, have mild winters, and even in the north the winters are still more agreeable than in many other parts of Europe.
Second on the list is the cost of living. Even though it has risen quite a bit over the past few years, living in or visiting Portugal is still comparatively cheap compared with other European countries. Although the cost of utilities in Portugal have increased substantially over the last decade or so, the same is true for most European countries. The good news is that many items such as beer and wine are considerably cheaper than elsewhere, and Portuguese wines can be extremely good.
The Mediterranean diet also means the Portuguese are amongst the healthiest in the world, and their life expectation is one of the highest in Europe. There is a public and private health system in Portugal, although the public health system doesn’t cover all of the routine tests taken for granted within the NHS. There are some dentists who work within the public health system, but most are private.
However the cost of dental treatment in Portugal can be much more affordable than in the UK. In spite of the recent economic troubles in Portugal, it’s still a great place in which to buy property for use as a holiday home, or in preparation for retirement. The great advantage of buying Portuguese property is that it can be rented out quite easily when not in use, and at the moment it’s possible to get some great bargains.
Landlords in Portugal are now able to carry out background checks on tenants as a new system has just been launched which is been fully endorsed by the National Data Protection Committee. The aim of the system is to stimulate confidence within the rental market, as it should help reduce the risk of damage to the property or missed payments.
The background check service was launched at the beginning of the summer, and it’s hoped it will attract more investors and property owners to put homes into the rental market. There are two types of tenant checks available which are Expressed References and Complete References.
The first type of report detects possible problem areas using public information from Social Security and other related services. The second report carries information about the tenant’s employment status as well as any references from former landlords.
Apparently the service, Renda Protec doesn’t breach any privacy rights as the information is only given with the tenant’s permission. Such information is already commonplace in countries where the rental market is more fully developed. For example a survey a couple of years ago carried out in the UK found 98% of tenants who had received a positive reference reports went on to be problem free, while 83% of those who had defaulted on payments hadn’t undergone any professional background checks.
At the moment Portugal isn’t particularly popular amongst investors as it has a history of ineffectual eviction processes and is relatively high risk, something that it is seeking to change. Tenants are also able to purchase their own referral reports, enabling them to negotiate more effectively when choosing a new rental home.