The Brazilian property market took off a few years ago with speculative investors being encouraged to purchase “off plan” properties in a variety of resorts in the North East of the country in places such as Natal and Fortaleza. Then came the “social housing” projects which were situated more inland. Prior to these opportunities very few people had even thought about buying a property in Brazil.
Few investors gave notice or attention to the potential legal problems which may occur in such an emerging market. The distance from the UK, language barriers and a very different legal system in Brazil all combined to create inevitable issues for property investors.
Brazil the country
Brazil is the largest country in South America and the 5th largest country in the world. Brazil also has various archipelagos. Its capital, Brasilia, is some 5,300 miles from London. The currency of Brazil is the Real and the official language is Portuguese. It is a democratic federative republic.
Because Brazil is such a large country it covers a wide variety of terrains ranging from hills and mountains to plains and scrubland and beaches. It is the only country that has both the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn going through it.
The Brazilian Legal System
The Brazilian legal system has been heavily influenced by the Portuguese, British and American legal systems over the years but has obviously moved in its own direction
Brazil has a formal written Constitution which was enacted in 1988 but has had a number of amendments to it since then. The legal system is the civil law system.
Brazil uses the Notarial system for transactions such as the purchase, sale or inheritance of property. This means that Deeds are signed in front of a Notary Public who is there to make sure that you are who you claim to be, that you understand what you are signing and that you are not being pressured into signing any document. That does not mean that you only need a Notary for such transactions as the Notary will only get involved at the end of a transaction and won’t do all those things necessary before you get to the signature of the Deeds.