Lisbon City Council promo image, by António Couto
Lisbon City Council promo image, by António Couto

Lisbon city council proposes housing cooperatives on municipal land

Plan must be debated as council does not have absolute majority

Lisbon city council is to debate a programme for first-home cooperatives, envisaging the provision of municipal land for the construction of homes on a non-profit basis, with the right to use them for 90 years,.

“The main aim is for people to get a home for the cost of building it,” Filipa Roseta (PSD) councillor for Housing has told Lusa, stressing that this cooperative programme is aimed at people who don’t own homes in Lisbon.

The proposal put by the PSD/CDS-PP leadership, which governs Lisbon without an absolute majority, is to be discussed tomorrow at a private meeting of the municipal executive.

Expectations are that the opposition will be in favour, said Filipa Roseta.

She explained that the scheme challenges families to organise themselves into cooperatives to bid for municipal land, with the right to use it for 90 years, “build their homes, assuming the costs of construction”.

At the moment, the council has “identified (spaces for) 500 homes, spread all over the city”, she added. There are five projects already in the pipeline, for 18 homes in Lumiar, 12 in Benfica, 15 in Arroios, 21 in São Vicente and 23 in Santa Clara.

The proposal for this ‘cooperative programme’ foresees the launch of cooperative housing operations in Rua António do Couto, in Lumiar, which already has an architectural design plan approved, with 18 homes – five 1-bedroom homes (€146,000 each), nine 2-bedroom homes ( €216,000 each) and four 3-bedroom homes ( €289,000 each) – with 22 parking spaces, with a total investment by the cooperative (excluding VAT) of €3.83 million and an average cost per home of €213,000.

Councillors from Livre, Cidadãos Por Lisboa (elected by the PS/Livre coalition) and BE have shown themselves to be in favour of the existence of first home cooperatives, but suggested changes to the proposed model, without announcing how they would vote. The PS members have they are still analysing the document and PCP communists “didn’t respond in time”, says Lusa.

Livre councillors have said that the proposal “seems very insufficient, it doesn’t even constitute a real programme” on cooperatives, pointing out the lack of specific lines of funding to support them, to be negotiated by the municipality, and that the choice would be by lottery rather than by scoring the applications.

Cidadãos Por Lisboa has said that “mobilising the cooperative sector is very important, with the principle of promoting the construction from scratch of a collective project, which goes beyond the house”, warning that “we can’t risk these dwellings ending up in speculation”.

BE considers that “it is necessary to guarantee that companies and property funds cannot be co-operators and that only citizens can belong to the co-operative”, adding that the investment amounts required “are still too high for the vast majority of young people and middle-class couples”.

Source material: LUSA