Simplifying construction and licensing for new buildings is undoubtedly a positive step, but as the saying goes, "putting the cart before the horse" can have risks. The lack of a habitation license raises questions about the buyer's assurance that it will eventually be obtained. While it streamlines property transactions, it introduces a vulnerability in terms of accessing credit, making it a paradox that demands careful attention, especially from industry professionals.

This development also prompts a reflection on the real estate mediation profession, which must regain the trust of Portuguese society. This is crucial to reduce transactions between private individuals, often lacking expertise in the field and consequently exposed to risks. Without a habitation license, there's no way to verify the legality of features like a marquee, an annex, or even a garage and balcony, potentially opening a window of opportunity for thieves and fraudsters to deceive those who worked hard to purchase their homes.

So, is Simplex really simple or complex?

In my view, the Simplification of licensing is an excellent opportunity that should be managed with care, avoiding shortcuts at the expense of legality. This measure, if well-implemented and embraced by all industry stakeholders, can bring about positive changes and significantly reduce the bureaucracy that fuels corruption, a cancer Portugal can do without. Regardless of political opinions, it's a measure worth supporting.

There is also a question about whether the elimination of the construction permit and the prevalence of prior communication, a mechanism that has been in place for many years but rarely utilized, will pose challenges for developers with banks and other entities.

In my opinion, it is crucial to focus on the positive aspects rather than the negative ones, as simplification and speed could positively impact housing prices for the benefit of consumers. However, it's essential to acknowledge that potential gaps in legal security may be a negative factor influencing real estate and the construction of more affordable homes. Promoters will bear the full risk of the business, which wasn't the case before, as urban risk was shared between the municipal council and the developer with the support of their architect. This situation might make promoters more hesitant to launch projects, introducing the cost of insurance, as a poorly executed project that doesn't meet legal requirements could face embargoes, benefiting no one, including the promoter. This doesn't seem to be in the interest of those building the homes of tomorrow.


Paulo Lopes is a multi-talent Portuguese citizen who made his Master of Economics in Switzerland and studied law at Lusófona in Lisbon - CEO of Casaiberia in Lisbon and Algarve.

Paulo Lopes