Owners of empty and abandoned buildings to start being charged “aggravated rates”

President Marcelo has approved a government proposal to charge owners of empty and abandoned buildings up to six times the normal municipal rates (IMI).

Say reports, Marcelo has ‘doubts over the efficacy’ of the new policy, but his approval means the regime will come into effect from next year.

Further shocks for owners include the progressive hike of increased rates by 10% for every year their buildings remain unoccupied.

Explains Correio da Manhã, the impetus behind the policy is to solve “habitational problems in areas of urbanistic pressure”, particularly large cities.

Lisbon “will be one of the first municipal councils to take advantage of the lack of available housing by taking up this measure”, says the paper – particularly as mayor Fernando Medina intimated earlier this year that he was keen to hammer negligent owners with new rates penalties from 2020.

As the paper explains, 71 of the country’s 308 borough councils already charge three times the normal IMI rates for empty and abandoned buildings.

Sintra, for example, where there remain many unoccupied buildings, has seen its council also make noises about increasing rates six-fold by 2020.

The law stipulates “prédios devolutos”, which for the sake of clarity do NOT include ‘second homes near beaches, in the countryside or in spa resorts’, properties available for short-term rentals, properties on the market for sale, properties undergoing maintenance/ repair works and the homes of emigrés or national citizens employed abroad.

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