Government blames state for housing problem in Portugal

The Government made the owners and real estate agents not responsible for the “enormous difficulty” of accessing housing in Portugal, assuming that “it is really the fault of the State” and defining as a priority the building of a public housing stock.

“It is not your fault [real estate platforms and real estate agents], obviously. It is not the fault of the owners either. It is the fault of the State, which has so far failed to respond to what is one of the biggest problems, one of the biggest challenges facing Portuguese society “, said the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, referring that there are” many thousands “of Portuguese people with” enormous difficulty “in accessing housing.

The minister spoke of signing protocols with real estate platforms and real estate agents to publicize the Affordable Leasing Program (PAA), which took place in Lisbon.

Pedro Nuno Santos said that one of the main objectives of the Government is to build a public housing stock, noting that “it is a Herculean task in Portugal”, because there is a very small percentage of public housing compared to most countries in Europe.

Currently, the public housing stock in Portugal is 2% and the remaining 98% is privately owned, but the Government’s goal is to increase the State’s share to 5%.

“This is a challenge that will take years, but it is fundamental for us, because, however many laps we take, we always arrive at the public park as the most effective way to solve a problem that the market does not solve, and does not have to resolve, but that we, the State, the collective instrument of the Portuguese people, must be able to resolve “, said Pedro Nuno Santos.

To answer the sector’s difficulties, “there is no single silver bullet, there is no single measure”, reinforced the minister, emphasizing the public response and the mobilization of the private park.

Regarding the PAA, the head of the Housing Department said that “it is another instrument, within a very broad framework of policies”, to facilitate access to housing, highlighting the “extremely important” and “complementarity” work with real estate platforms and real estate agents.

Isabel Dias, president of the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation (IHRU), which is the managing body of PAA, said that the signed protocols represent “an example” that it is possible to reconcile the performance and interests of public and private actors that act in the housing.

Present at the session, the Secretary of State for Housing, Ana Pinho, indicated that this “new impulse” to promote the PAA involves more than 15 entities, of which some multinationals, which may, in the case of the fastest, start to publicize the program a month from now, making it easier to find demand and supply for rent.

Referring that the PAA is “an advantageous alternative”, both for the owner and for the lessee, Ana Pinho recalled that the first rental insurance is already available on the market.

In addition to the PAA protocols, the Government wants, “in the very short term”, to establish partnerships to “combat fraudulent situations” and for a better registration of properties.

“State support is proportional to the needs of families”, stressed Ana Pinho, recalling that there are answers for families in need, namely the 1st Law program and the offer of public housing.

In this sense, the Government expects, “perhaps at the end of this quarter, to already have a major national plan for the provision of public housing”.

In force since July 2019, the PAA has 6,315 applications from tenants, 392 registered accommodations and 117 contracts signed, according to the latest balance sheet, with data released today.

Source: Jornal de Notícias 04 February 2020

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