Crackdown on illegal construction and property firms

IN A major inspection operation recently carried out by the Instituto dos Mercados de Obras Públicas e Particulares e do Imobiliário (IMOPPI), the institute responsible for the control of public and private construction work, five real estate agencies and one civil construction company were found to be operating illegally in the Algarve.

Over the course of the inspections, dozens of situations were uncovered involving infringements to current laws, breaches which are serious enough for the companies to be shut down should the necessary alterations not be made within the agreed time scale.

“The inspection campaign was one of the biggest over the past three years, involving 22 inspectors and covering around 100 locations throughout Portugal in just five days,” revealed Jorge Dias of the IMOPPI press office.

Areas visited in the Algarve included Sagres, Vila do Bispo, Lagos, Portimão, Armação de Pêra, Albufeira, Loulé, Quarteira, Vilamoura, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António. The number of companies that were inspected in the region has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to be around 100. Overall, in Portugal, 476 companies were inspected, 320 in the construction field and 156 real estate agencies.

Despite the fact that the operation aimed to combat the illegalities in the industry, Jorge Dias assured that it projected a less repressive image, rather providing information, teaching the rules, and instilling a belief that mistakes can be corrected and which, many times, are made due to the fact that the companies are ill informed about the regulations in force.

Illegalities detected in real estate agencies referred to non possession of licences for carrying out sales activities. It is common to find agents that do not have a Livro de Reclamações (an official complaint book), official company registration documents available or a sales licence (AMI). In addition, it is common to find companies selling other products and providing other services from the same premises without permission.

In the construction industry, a case was identified of building work being in progress without an alvará (licence and permission). According to Jorge Dias, the most typical cases in which laws are violated in the construction field relate to the lack of identification of the registered owner and licence number, and illegal situations involving sub-contractors.