The Association of Real Estate Professionals and Companies in Portugal (APEMIP) has defended the increase in the public housing stock and the creation of rental support programs indexed to income.

“It is essential to create alternatives”, the president of APEMIP, Paulo Caiado, told Lusa agency, considering that the fire in a building in Mouraria (Lisbon) on Saturday, which caused two deaths, brought to the public attention “the degrading conditions in which many people live, people in properties that are not even residential”.

According to Paulo Caiado, this is “a reality that is not part of the daily life of the association”, since “most landlords who interact with mediation, when renting a property, what they want is what is relatively traditional”, that is, “security in fulfilling contractual obligations, also in what has to do with conservation of your property”.

As a rule, he said, "the landlord who has a T2 is not at all interested in renting it for 20 people or for 10", but rather "interested in renting that house to someone who, on the one hand, will fulfil the obligations of that contract that is going to be celebrated and, on the other hand, offer you some perspectives on the conservation of your home”.

"Most cases of overcrowding happen without the landlords' knowledge", pointed out the president of APEMIP.

Although the issue of subletting and overcrowding of properties does not particularly affect the real estate sector, Paulo Caiado warned of the need for “entities with inspection responsibilities” and State intervention “on multiple fronts”, to create alternatives in access to the lease.

“Increasing the public housing stock, which represents about 2% of the total housing stock”, is one of the measures defended by the president of APEMIP, who welcomed the fact that “the Government has already spoken of increasing it from 2% to 5% ” and that there are “funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan earmarked for this purpose”.

“Not based on the market”

For Paulo Caiado, it is also necessary for the State “to have programs that can support those who need to rent a house and do not have the income to do so”, considering it essential “that this help depends on people’s income and not on the market”.

Because he said, the answer does not go through “affordable income programs for young people, with the possibility of renting a house 20% below market values” when “that means that market values are 1,500 euros and [the young person] will be able to lease it for 1,200 euros”.

“Accessibility has to be structured and has to be associated with the profitability of people and families”, he underlined, guaranteeing that, with State intervention, “there will be no lack of private individuals” interested in associating their properties with these programs.

The creation of leasing alternatives also involves, in the opinion of Paulo Caiado, incentives for the recovery of “720,000 housing units” existing in the country and which “represent almost 15% of the national housing stock”.

"Surely many of these dwellings are not habitable", but "many of these owners would really like to have help, from a municipality or the Government, which could intervene in the recovery of those properties", he added.

And, if that were the case, if “10% of these dwellings, with the necessary intervention” were placed on the market, it would mean “almost doubling the offer”, highlighted Paulo Caiado.