Once more, the More Housing Package has been granted parliamentary approval. This time, it received support exclusively from the PS, while PAN and Livre abstained, and the remaining opposition parties voted against it.
Following President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s initial veto, the Mais Housing package has once again received approval in the Assembly of the Republic, with only the PS in favor, and abstentions from Livre and PAN. The remaining opposition parties, including PSD, Chega, Liberal Initiative, PCP, and Left Bloc, voted against it. This reconfirmation compels Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to promulgate the package.
After the presidential veto in August, and amid months of controversy, the package returned to Parliament for reconsideration on Thursday. Parties from across the political spectrum accused the Government of being “stubborn” and unwilling to engage in a dialogue to address housing problems. Many argued that the package failed to resolve “critical issues,” particularly the measures concerning local accommodation and coercive leasing, which were among the most heavily criticized.
The debate was not without incident, as near the end of the session, when Socialist deputy Hugo Carvalho was about to speak, a group of protesters in the galleries stood up and chanted “Home for Viver,” alluding to a demonstration scheduled for September 30th. This led to the President of the Assembly of the Republic interrupting the session and calling for the intervention of PSP agents.
This package was initially presented by the Government on February 16th, underwent public consultation, and was finally approved in a comprehensive vote on July 19th. However, the President decided not to promulgate it, criticizing it harshly and deeming the program “clearly insufficient” and not meeting the necessary support requirements.
Nevertheless, the PS had already indicated its intention to maintain the bill as is, with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stating that this was not a “closed case,” especially since the measures still require regulation. It has been reported that the decision on whether Parliament or the Government will draft specific rules for the decrees of the Assembly of the Republic will only be made after this vote.
At the heart of the matter are a series of measures aimed at alleviating the housing crisis, with an estimated value of 900 million euros (excluding the cost of works, purchases, or rent that may be covered by the State) from the 2023 State Budget. The bill has undergone slight changes compared to the original proposal from February 16th, especially regarding the coercive rental of vacant properties, one of the most contentious measures, as well as the golden visa program, which will only end for new applications granting residence visas for real estate investments.
Among the envisaged measures is also the imposition of an extraordinary contribution to Local Accommodation, with a tax rate of 15% applicable to this tax base, which cannot be deducted when determining taxable profit in IRC. The new regulations also stipulate that Local Accommodation registrations will be reviewed in 2030, and starting with the first review, they will be renewable for five-year periods.