In these five parishes of the city, all in the centre of Lisbon, more than 20 percent of the houses are "vacant dwellings", that is, they are not identified as usual or secondary residence, according to data from official sources that were presented at a meeting of the Municipal Council of Housing.

The highest percentages of empty houses range from 33 percent in the parish of Misericórdia to 20 percent in Estrela, while the lowest rates are recorded in Lumiar (8 percent) and in Marvila, Santa Clara and Carnide (all with 9 percent).

In terms of absolute numbers, the parishes of Lisbon with the most vacant homes are Arroios (3,890), Misericórdia (2,869), Penha de França (2,867) and Estrela (2,564), while those with the fewest are Carnide (831) and Santa Clara (992).

Rental effects

According to the data presented to the researchers, it is in the parishes with the highest percentage of empty houses that Local Accommodation (AL for tourists) has more weight in relation to the total number of dwellings. Thus, 61 percent of the houses in the parish of Santa Maria Maior are local accommodation, followed by Misericórdia (41 percent), Santo António (20 percent), São Vicente (16 percent), Arroios (11 percent) and Estrela (10 percent).

In Penha de França, one of the parishes with the highest number of empty houses in absolute terms, Local Accommodation represents 3 percent of total housing.

Urgent mission

In January of this year, at a hearing at the Lisbon Municipal Assembly, Filipa Roseta had already advanced that almost 48,000 houses in Lisbon are not identified as a main or secondary residence by the owners and defended that they must be put "to use".

"It's a huge number. Our mission at the Municipal Council [of Housing] is to understand how we are going to invite the owners of these almost 48,000 houses to come to the table", said Filipa Roseta, who is responsible for Housing in Lisbon council.

The councillor stated, on the same day, that the Chamber is "doing its best" to "understand what these 48,000 dwellings are" and considered that the Municipal Housing Council "will be fundamental for this" and to "encourage private people to put their houses on the market".

Filipa Roseta also recalled that the Lisbon City Council owns 2,000 of these vacant houses and said that their rehabilitation and placement on the city's housing market is an "urgent mission" and the "immediate responsibility" of the municipality.