The compulsory rental of vacant properties was one of the main topics of discussion, leading even the President of the Republic to admit rejecting the law if the bill goes forward. But not even this made the Government set back.

The measure, so-called forced rental, will go ahead in the case of flats vacant for more than two years, in high density territories, according to what was approved in the Council of Ministers on Thursday, March 30.

"This is not about expropriation. It is simply about preventing a necessary asset being taken away from market access while charging an affordable rent," the leader of the Socialist Government insisted. "We live at a time of great housing shortage in our country, at a time when, in particular, the younger generations are facing increasing difficulties in their autonomy," he added, noting that the State will also give away vacant public properties and land to help increase the supply of housing, in partnership with the private sector.

The main priority of the Government with More Housing, guarantees Costa, is "to generate a sufficient and accessible supply of housing for Portuguese families and for this we need to adopt measures that may have an effect of regulating the market during the next few years", he said, stressing that "today it is not only the families in need that have difficulty in accessing housing. The entire middle class has difficulty in accessing housing".

Aware of the risks and consequences that this type of intervention can have in terms of market confidence, the Prime Minister explain the measure in detail.

Only "the properties that for more than two years are already classified by the municipalities as being in a vacant situation" are covered. This means that properties that are not currently considered vacant "can only be object of this measure two years after having been qualified as being empty", in António Costa's words.

According to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), based on the 2021 Census, there were 723,215 empty homes in Portugal, of which around 348,000 were placed on the sale or rental market and a slice of 375,000 - which meet the criteria to be considered vacant properties - were vacant for "other reasons".

Which houses are not considered vacant properties?

Holiday homes;

Homes of emigrants or of people displaced for health reasons and professional or professional or training reasons;

Houses whose owners are in a social facility such as a nursing home or are providing permanent care as informal carers.