The Government approved, this Thursday, the final document of the 'Mais Habitação' programme, a package of measures announced by the Executive in mid-February, which aims to respond to the challenges of housing. The programme received in total over 2,700 contributions, in the scope of the public consultation. The press conference took place in Almada, under the background sound of protests from the local accommodation sector.
End of the granting of new Gold Visas
The Prime Minister, António Costa, underlines that "nothing justifies special treatment for Gold Visas". Gold Visas already issued will be converted into a normal residence permit. Those that are under appreciation, will continue to be under appreciation, according to the general law. "We end, thus, with the general regime", says António Costa.
Limits to AL only for flats
The Prime Minister highlights the "significant growth year after year" of local accommodation. António Costa indicates that the restrictions to local accommodation will not apply to the autonomous regions, nor to municipalities and low density parishes in 20 other municipalities.
He also stated that the restriction of local accommodation will only be applied to flats, and that it will be the municipalities that establish the balance that should exist between student housing, local accommodation and others. Costa stresses that "all municipalities that have considered themselves in a situation of housing shortage, will not be able to grant new local accommodation licences".
Since there were people who resorted to credit to make investments in the purchase of a house, or even works for Local Lodging, in these cases the municipalities, in 2030, must renew, and the license is renewed until the end of the loan contract, says António Costa. The Government now attributes "all competences regarding local accommodation to the municipalities", the Prime Minister adds.
António Costa also emphasizes that "we do not prohibit local accommodation, we only say that for the time being it is better to suspend the new licences for local accommodation, because, each house that goes to local accommodation is one less house for families to inhabit".
Coercive lease only for flats that have been vacant for more than 2 years
In what concerns the measure of forced lease of vacant properties, António Costa underlines that this measure does not apply to low density territories, but only to higher density territories. The measure only applies, also, to flats, clarifying that "it only applies to properties that for at least two years have been classified by the municipalities as vacant".
Reduction of taxation on rentals
In turn, Marina Gonçalves referred that it is "complementing the structural response that is underway of reinforcing the public rental responses", and that the first objective is to encourage new private projects of accessible rental, having the promoters as partners.
The Minister of Housing emphasises that there will be a reduction of taxation on rentals. Marina Gonçalves also said that the Porta 65 youth programme will have continuous applications and, also, the Porta 65+ programme will be created to deal with situations where there is a drop in income.
The finance minister, Fernando Medina, promised "a very significant easing of taxation on rent", as the general rate will be reduced as the duration of contracts increases. The tax exemption, for those who put houses on the affordable rental market, will be extended to IMI and also to AIMI.
Old Rents: Landlords will not pay IRS and IMI
Fernando Medina informed that landlords, who own houses with old rents, will now be exempt from paying IRS, as well as IMI. The minister also announced the IRS exemption on capital gains on sales to the State, as well as confirming the measure of exemption from capital gains tax on sales of properties used to amortise debt.
The debate "does not end today".
Closing his speech, António Costa underlined that the debate "does not end today" and that the fundamental issue is to give "more housing to Portuguese families at a time when there is a great housing shortage, especially among the younger generations". Costa adds that "we have to mobilize all the resources and the existing talent in the new generations". To underline that the Government leaves the territorial planning and the simplification of the licensing in public consultation, for one more month.
Lisbon against proposed measures for AL
Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon, joined this Thursday in the protests against the Government's measures for local housing. Joana Almeida, Lisbon City Councillor for Urbanism, stressed this afternoon, at Lisbon's Urban Rehabilitation Week, that "both housing and local accommodation have been treated in a very extreme way", adding that "what local accommodation has become in Portugal, it has become the culprit for the lack of affordable housing, and that speech is totally wrong".
The Councillor points out that "at CML we have information to know the reality. When we go ahead with these measures, something is not right. We made this portrait for Lisbon, in the Local Lodging Characterisation and Monitoring Report, published in December 2022, and it is a useful instrument to take decisions for the Local Lodging and to define a policy of balance between the two".
Joana Almeida underlines that "we want to regulate AL in a logic of balance with housing" and that, this ban will "take us back to informality".