House PricesHouse Rental

The Affordable Rental Program entered into force. What awaits us?

In the current context, housing presents itself as an unavoidable issue to a significant part of the urban population, namely in Lisbon and Porto. Political players understand the need to present solutions….

This measure aims to harmonize lease market prices with household incomes.

Which real estate is available and who is eligible?

Any person or entity may register real estate on the platform, in whole or in part, provided they comply with the comfort, health and safety requirements. It is also necessary that the amount contracted for income be at least 20% lower than the reference value calculated and released by the National Statistics Institute. The counterpart is the total exemption – on IRS or IRC – on the property income. On the other hand, any person or group of people (a family, group of friends, etc.) can apply for the program providing their income does not exceed a stipulated maximum value. The contracts must have a minimum duration of 5 years; 9 months in the case of university student. In theory, only these cases would require a guarantor and collateral.

The contradiction (expected to be temporary …)

Although the decree-law states that “The requirement to any of the candidates, or the provision by them, of any form of a bond, guarantee or other guarantees,” the FAQ document available at the Housing Portal indicates “there are exceptions in which a guarantor or surety may be accepted.” In particular – and in addition to the specific case of leasing for students – “when no offers on compulsory insurance are available on the market.” That is, precisely, what is happening at the moment. The rules for these insurances should already be defined. It is unknown when they will be ready. According to Idealista, the Secretary of State in charge of Housing, Ana Pinho, those insurances may be available “in the coming months.” That is, until news to the contrary, the program will be operating in precisely the way that is expressly prohibited by the decree-law that makes its creation official. Given that there are legislative elections in exactly 60 days, I can’t help but think that eventually the natural order of things will be ignored.

We already know there is demand. What about supply?

On the first day of the program, there were 191 tenant applications for only 8 available properties. What measures are being taken to adjust the number of available properties to the existing demand? The Government approved 29 State-owned properties that will be renovated and placed at the service of this program, the highlight being the building of the former Miguel Bombarda Hospital. Alongside the Government, the Lisbon City Council (CML) had already announced, in February, the creation of 47 homes (at Avenida da República, 102 and Campo Grande, 6). Another 72 homes were added (at Avenida da República, 4 and Avenida Visconde de Valmor, 48), under the Social Security Building Reconversion Program, in a total of 250 apartments and 226 rooms for university students. The Councilor for Housing, Paula Marques, shared the belief that works would begin by the end of the year.

Conclusions?

The Government expects the measure to generate affordable housing. Even if this does not happen, the injection of inventory items into the Lisbon market should, per se, help correct the supply-demand imbalance and, in this way, generate a repercussion on the value of rents. It remains to know when. It seems unlikely that these properties will be available before 2021 (although the CML dares to say 2020…).