Despite the veto on the package approved in parliament, a Government decree was promulgated that reforms and simplifies licensing related to housing, with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa warning that he will be attentive to compatibility with the safety and quality of buildings.
Here are the main measures foreseen in Mais Habitação:
- Limitations on the increase in rent for new contracts
The value of the initial rent on new contracts for houses that have been on the rental market in the last five years cannot exceed 2% compared to the previous one. The automatic update coefficients from the previous three years can be added to this value (if they have not been applied), being considered 5.43% in relation to 2023.
This 2% limitation does not apply to contracts whose value is lower than the rents considered in affordable rent.
- Family IMI deduction increases
The value of the discount on Municipal Property Tax (IMI) that councils can grant to residents, depending on the number of dependents, increases. Currently this deduction is 20, 40 and 70 euros depending on whether there are one, two, three or more dependents, respectively.
With the entry into force of the law that regulates Mais Habitação, the value of the deduction increases to, in the same order of dependents, 30, 70 and 140 euros.
- Forced leasing of vacant houses
This was one of the Mais Habitação measures that generated the most controversy and is aimed at houses that have been vacant for more than two years and located outside the interior of the country, with owners having 90 days to respond after being notified to carry out works or use the property.
If there is no response from the owner within the defined period, the municipality may proceed with the forced rental of the property.
It is also foreseen that the municipal council may, at the request of any interested party, determine the supervision of the conditions of use of the property.
Holiday homes, those that are vacant because the respective owner is in a home or providing permanent care as an informal caregiver and those of emigrants, as well as those of people displaced for professional, health or training reasons, are not considered vacant for this effect.
- Capital gains on houses sold to the State and municipalities exempt from IRS
Capital gains resulting from the sale of properties to the State or municipalities are exempt from IRS, with only those earned by residents of the list of territories and countries that Portugal classifies as tax havens or those resulting from sales through the exercise of right of first refusal.
Currently, 50% of the added value generated must be included in the remaining income, being subject to progressive rates IRS taxes.
- Tax benefits for urban rehabilitation ends for investment funds
The exemption from Collective Income Tax (IRC) attributed to income obtained by investment funds established between 2008 and 2013 with assets in properties subject to urban rehabilitation was revoked, also ending the tax benefit attributed to those who held participation units in investment funds. investment.
However, a reduction in the taxation of real estate investment funds and real estate investment companies is expected when "at least 75% of their assets are real estate allocated to housing rental at affordable costs".
- Extraordinary contribution on local accommodation
Local accommodation (AL) will start paying an extraordinary contribution (CEAL), whose tax base is constituted by the application of an economic coefficient (which takes into account the area of the property and income) and urban pressure. The rate applicable to this tax base is 15% and cannot be deducted when determining taxable profit under IRC.
This CEAL leaves out residential properties that do not constitute autonomous units, nor parts or divisions capable of independent use, as well as AL that operate in their own permanent housing, as long as the operation does not exceed 120 days per year.
The rate, another of the measures that generated the most controversy, does not apply to properties located in the interior of the country, with the value reduced from the 35% initially proposed by the Government to 15%.
On the other hand, the tax asset value (VPT) for IMI purposes of houses in local accommodation is always equal to 1, meaning they no longer benefit from the reduction in the aging coefficient that accompanies the age of the property.
- Expiry and review of local accommodation records
Holders of inactive AL registrations must provide proof of continued activity within two months of the new law coming into force.
In case of non-compliance, the registrations will be cancelled, by decision of the president of the territorially competent municipal council.
Local accommodation units in their own and permanent housing whose operation does not exceed 120 days per year will not be subject to registration expiry.
The new rules also establish that local accommodation registrations will be reviewed during 2030 and, from the first review onwards, renewable for five years.
The only exception is local accommodation establishments that provide real guarantee for loan contracts that have not yet been fully settled by December 31, 2029.
- Condominium owners can oppose new local accommodation
Condominium owners will now be consulted in advance about new local accommodations that want to operate in buildings intended for housing. On the other hand, it is stipulated that "the constitutive title of the horizontal property can be modified by public deed, with the agreement of all condominium owners”.
- Suspension of new local accommodation licenses
The issuance of new local accommodation registrations outside the country's interior territories (low density) will be suspended, in accordance with the new rules.
This suspension, which does not apply to the exploitation of properties included in the Revive Natureza Fund nor to autonomous regions, "maintains in all or part of the area of the municipality in which the situation of housing shortage has been declared".
- Incentive to move AL houses to rent
Owners who remove their houses from local accommodation by the end of 2024 and place them for housing lease will be exempt from IRS or IRC on rents until the end of 2029 and are not subject to any limit on the amount of rent they intend to make.
To do this, the rental contract must be signed by December 31, 2024, and only properties with AL registration by December 31, 2022 are eligible.
- Old income updated for inflation
Old lease contracts (prior to 1990) that have not been transferred to the New Urban Lease Regime will no longer be carried over and the rent will be updated according to inflation and benefit from exemption from IRS and IMI. It is also planned to pay compensation to landlords.
- Lease to sublease
To increase supply in the rental market, the State proposes to rent vacant houses to private individuals and then sublet them.
The rent paid to the landlord will have tax benefits as long as the contract has a duration of no less than five years and the value of the rent complies with the prices and types set out in the Affordable Rental Support Program (PAA).
- State pays rent arrears after three months of non-compliance
The State will replace the tenant and pay rent in cases where there is non-compliance for more than three months, to reinforce the rental market. In this way, it will be up to the State to assess the tenant's situation and may proceed to collect the outstanding amounts using the means currently existing for the collection of other debts. If non-compliance is due to lack of resources, the case is articulated with Social Security.
The payment has a maximum monthly value of 1.5 times the national minimum wage, up to a total limit of an amount equivalent to nine times the national minimum wage.
- Exemption from capital gains on the sale of properties to pay loan
The program provides for exemption from capital gains on the sale of family properties, as long as the amount is intended to pay the loan for the owner's or his descendants' own permanent home.
This exemption covers properties sold between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2024.
- End of golden visas
With the entry into force of the new law, new requests for granting residence visas for investment activities will not be accepted, which will not affect the possibility of renewing authorizations already granted.
Requests for the granting and renewal of residence permits for investment activities remain valid, including those that are “pending prior control procedures in municipal councils” on the date the law comes into force.
The granting or renewal of residence permits for family reunification is also excluded from the adopted limitation.