The Assembly of the Republic approved the “Mais Habitação” Program, a package of measures that aims to ensure and facilitate access to housing, with the creation of incentives for the provision of accommodation at affordable rents, protection of tenants and the result of disincentives for the allocation of the existing housing stock to other purposes.
The highlight goes to the creation of a credit line with mutual guarantee and interest rate subsidy for projects in affordable housing, to be provided by Banco Português do Fomento, and a program for the transfer of public real estate, with the properties made available, in both situations, subject to the controlled cost housing regime. This financing line is available to housing cooperatives and construction companies in partnership with companies that operate the lease.
As for local accommodation, new registrations of establishments in urban areas are suspended, and the holders must prove, within two months of the entry into force of the measures, that they continue to operate the establishment under penalty of forfeiture of the registration.
Condominium owners’ unanimous consent is also required to affect a fraction of local accommodation. The initiative also makes it possible for the condominium owners’ meeting, by resolution of two-thirds of the capital of the building, to oppose the operation of local accommodation, except when such allocation is expressly provided for in the constitutive title, or there has been a resolution of the condominium owners’ meeting authorizing the operation of local accommodation.
It is also necessary, with great emphasis, the possibility of determining the forced lease of vacant dwellings for more than two years if the owner, notified by the municipality to make use of it, does not do so. This is, however, an exceptional and supplementary measure, the use of which is at the municipality’s disposal.
The “Mais Habitação” package also includes the limitation of rent updates to 2%, to which the application of the three immediately preceding annual updates may be added.
Tax benefits are also created for the provision of affordable housing, for buildings to be integrated into the Rental Support Program, for properties that move from local accommodation to the rental market, and for the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing.
Worthy of note is the fact that the State will now assume the payment of rents that fall due after the end of the opposition period, and the tenant continues to occupy the leased premises, with the State paying an amount up to 1.5 times the minimum wage and a maximum total of nine minimum wages, being subrogated to the landlord’s rights.
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