Accessible rents programme ‘published today’

The government’s accessible rents programme – designed to encourage landlords to charge realistic rents, so that young people and locals have a chance of renting in areas where they need to be – has been published today in State newspaper Diário da República, and will come into effect on July 1.

But how much it changes the ‘status quo’ – in which in many areas rents are so high local people have been priced out – remains to be seen.

Landlords are under no obligation to sign up to the scheme.

The incentives to do so involve freeing landlords already legally renting out their properties from paying rates, “as long as the rent they are charging is below 20% of the market value” and as long as tenants don’t have to pay high deposits.

Even so, the ‘limits’ may well still be considered high.

For example, Lisbon is pegged at Scale 6 of the programme where the monthly rent of a studio apartment should not exceed €600. 1-5-bedroom properties become progressively more expensive, ending with the price for the 5-bedroom properties limited to €1,700.

A few areas in the Algarve are pegged on Scale 4 (the boroughs of Albufeira, Castro Marim, Lagos, Loulé) where rents are limited to €400 for a studio apartment, up to 1,125 for a 5-bedr. property, while most towns and cities are said to fall into the Scale 2 bracket (where studio apartments are limited to €250, with prices increasing up to €650 for a 5-bedroom property).

Managed by the IHRU (institute of habitation and urban rehabilitation), Lusa explains that the programme establishes that rental contracts should have a minimum five-year term unless they are for students, in which case they should run for a nine-month period.

Comments over social media have been dubious, to say the least, that this programme will have the desired effects.

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