President promulgates simplification of housing licenses, but with warning

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The President of the Republic has promulgated the government decree that reforms and simplifies housing-related licensing, but warned that he will pay attention to “compatibility” with the safety and quality of buildings.

In a message published today on the official website of the Presidency of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa gave the green light to the government to “significantly simplify urban planning and land-use planning procedures”, as planned by the executive under the Mais Habitação (More Housing) program.

However, he warns that “he will not fail to bear in mind, in the future assessment of the authorized decree-law, the need to make urban simplification compatible with other values to be preserved, such as the safety and quality of buildings”.

At the same time, he will be vigilant with regard to “the responsibility of those involved in the construction process and the important role of local government in housing and land use planning”.

The President of the Republic also says that he hopes the government, “if possible”, will take the opportunity to “consider bringing together all the scattered (huge and, in some cases, contradictory) legislation in a single piece of legislation”, even suggesting something that “points towards a Building Code”.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa believes that this step would eliminate “contradictions and obsolete rules” and improve “the accessibility of the sector’s legislation”.

With the legislation now enacted, the government proposes to eliminate “dispensable or redundant” licenses, authorizations, acts and procedures in urban planning, land use planning and industry.

In the debate held on May 19 in the Assembly of the Republic, the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Administrative Modernization, Mário Campolargo, stressed that “responding to the challenges of housing” also involves this “Simplex measure”, which aims to simplify, standardize and reduce bureaucracy in licensing.

The President of the Republic vetoed the other proposals included in the Mais Habitação (More Housing) program, approved in parliament on July 19, with only the PS voting in favour. PSD, Chega, Iniciativa Liberal, PCP and BE voted against, while Livre and PAN chose to abstain.

The President of the Republic expressed a “serene negative judgment” and criticized the lack of consensus on Mais Habitação.

The most controversial and contested measures of the program are the suspension of the registration of new housing outside of low-density territories and an extraordinary contribution on this business, as well as the forced rental of houses that have been vacant for more than two years.

The government’s package also provides for an exemption from capital gains tax for owners who sell their homes to the state, an end to new ‘gold’ visas, an increase in the deduction per dependent under the Family IMI, changes to the autonomous rate on property income and tax exemptions for owners who remove their homes from local accommodation by the end of 2024.

After the diploma was sent to the Belém Palace, there was a lot of expectation about what Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa would do, and he decided not to send the diploma to the Constitutional Court.

In the message published today on the Presidency’s website, the head of state acknowledges “the emergence of the housing crisis, which mainly affects young people and the most vulnerable families, and is beginning to affect the middle class”, as well as “the need to increase the supply of housing”.

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Iris Lavan
Iris Lavan
With a background as a consultant in the medical industry, Iris Lavan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Portugal Pulse. Iris also runs a company in Tel Aviv offering marketing, business development, content creation and public relations services. She holds a degree in economics and management, giving her a solid grounding in business strategy and financial planning. Iris' commitment to Portugal Pulse is reflected not only in her consulting career, but also in her impact on the Portugale media landscape in Israel. She was an interviewer for Hadshot Portugal חדשות פורטוגל, a media outlet that broadcasts news about Portugal in Hebrew, where she provided valuable information on current affairs, healthcare and the economy. Since July 2023, Iris has also been part of the Portugal Pulse team.

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