In the Program of the XXIV Constitutional Government, presented today in the Assembly of the Republic, what was promised by the Democratic Alliance (PSD/CDS-PP/PPM) when it ran for the most recent legislative elections, in March, is fulfilled and the “determination ” to revoke some decisions of the previous socialist executive, translated into Law No. 56/2023, approved on October 6 last year.

Local accommodation

With regard to local accommodation, the Government Program indicates that the extraordinary contribution on this activity and the expiration of licenses prior to the Mais Habitação program will be revoked “immediately”.

The executive also adds that it will review “other legal limitations” on local accommodation “considered disproportionate”, without mentioning what it will do in relation to the suspension of the registration of new local accommodation outside low-density territories.

The previous socialist executive approved the forced leasing of houses abandoned for more than two years, a measure that the PSD/CDS-PP Government will revoke, opposing the “almost automatic injection into the market of vacant or underused properties and public land”.

Rent freezes

At the same time, the Government (PSD/CDS-PP) drops rent freezes and replaces them with "subsidies for vulnerable tenants", justifying: “We do not believe that the response to the housing crisis involves administrative price control, by freezing income or by limiting it within very strict bands, ignoring the rules in force, for everyone.”

According to the document, housing policy will be based on five axes, with the first focusing on increasing supply (private, public and cooperative), within which a program of public-private partnerships is proposed to “ large-scale construction and rehabilitation of both general housing and student accommodation”.

The second axis is based on the observation that it is necessary to promote “stability and confidence” in the rental market and includes measures such as “review and acceleration of mechanisms for rapid dispute resolution in the event of non-compliance with contracts”.

Thirdly, the Government maintains support for “vulnerable tenants”, aware that “the commitment to increasing the supply of private and public housing takes time”.

However, it is proposed to do so “through the subsidizing of tenants who need it and not the widespread punishment of owners”, criticizing “the ideological focus” of the PS “on restrictive measures that limit and collide with the right to property, which place some against others, which limit private economic initiative” and which “leave the State alone and unable to guarantee a boost to the housing market”.

Thus, the Government will replace the “administrative price limitations” with “public subsidy to tenants in situations of vulnerability/effective need (measured according to the rate of effort and level of income)” and grant reimbursement “starting with families with the highest rates of effort.”

Market imbalance

The Government finds justification for a public policy that “helps” the “many current and prospective tenants experiencing great difficulties” in the current “period of market imbalance”, explaining that it intends to expand the range of contracts covered by the subsidy (currently limited to 15 March 2023 – the year that, in the program, appears incorrectly as 2022).

At the same time, and “while the market does not stabilize”, it will maintain a “dynamic income subsidy” that covers families with high effort rates, highlighting that the Tax Authority will check contracts frequently.

The fourth axis consists of support for young people to purchase their first home, through tax exemption and a public guarantee to enable bank financing of the entire price.

Revoking the “wrong measures” of the Mais Habitação program, approved in October with only favorable votes from the PS, is the indication of the fifth axis of “reforms to resolve the crisis”.

The Program of the XXIV Constitutional Government was delivered today by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Pedro Duarte, to the President of the Assembly of the Republic, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco.