This Thursday, March 30, the Government approved the “More Housing” package, which provides that the State can force the lease of houses that have been vacant for two years. The list of measures also includes the end of Gold visas and restrictions on local accommodation (AL), outside low-density territories.
This package, which caused controversy since its presentation in February, was on the table at the Council of Ministers meeting today, in Setúbal.
In the end, António Costa explained to journalists that one of the measures that caused the most discussion – the forced lease – will only apply to houses that have been vacant for two years.
In response to the criticism, the Prime Minister defended that this is a legal figure that has long been present in the legislation and that, across the country, there are only 10.998 properties classified as vacant, more than half in Lisbon.
António Costa explained that the measure will only come into force for "properties that are classified by the municipalities as vacant", whether they are apartments and not located in low-density areas.
These two rules will also apply to local accommodation, whose new framework was also explained by the leader of the Government.
Municipalities that are in a situation of housing shortage – in the Algarve they are all but VRSA, Castro Marim, Alcoutim, Aljezur, Monchique and Vila do Bispo – will not be able to grant new local accommodation licenses.
Local accommodations will have an extraordinary contribution of 25% and not 35%, as initially planned.
«This year alone, more than two thousand homes are no longer available for housing, having been allocated to this economic activity. Each house goes to the AL, it doesn't go to a family. We cannot have sun on the threshing floor and rain on the nabal», considered the prime minister.
The restrictions have one exception: for those who resorted to credit to invest in the purchase of a house or in works, municipalities are obliged to renew the license in 2030 until the end of the loan.
Also at the suggestion of Alojamento Local, which said that there were many inactive licenses, António Costa says that in the first two months after the law comes into force, landlords must deliver the tax declaration proving that they have been renting the properties as AL
Regarding golden visas, António Costa says that «nothing justifies the existence» of this special regime.
Of the 11758 residence permits, only 22 «employment was generated».
The existing gold visas will be, according to the Prime Minister, converted into a normal residence permit.
Another of the approved measures is the extension of the “Porta 65” program throughout the year – before, applications took place three times a year.
As for landlords with old rents, they will stop paying IRS and IMI.