Lisbon urgently needs more available and affordable rental housing, Source: Depositphotos

Lisbon wants to fix housing shortage by becoming a major landlord

Lisbon wants to fix housing shortage by becoming a major landlord

For the plan, the city’s mayor is urging private owners to sell abandoned and unused properties to the municipality

At the end of last week, Lisbon’s mayor Carlos Moedas announced that funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) available for the post-Covid economic boost would be used to purchase more residential buildings from private owners. The aim of the plan is to increase the supply of affordable rental housing in a city that desperately needs more of that.

The idea to make City Hall one of the major players in the rental market originated from the Housing Councilor Filipa Roseta. The plan will be launched immediately in order to mitigate the housing crisis conditions plaguing the Portuguese capital.

"We looked at that money we have from the PRR and thought 'we won't be able to build everything ourselves, but there are many houses that we could be buying, buildings that we could buy", said Carlos Moedas, as quoted by Diario de Noticias, in the presentation of the Municipal Housing Charter of Lisbon.

Renovation rather than development

The focus of the local administration would thus be not to boost and compete in the construction development sector but rather to buy properties that have already been built and renovate them if necessary. There are many abandoned or decaying buildings that could do with a facelift before being put back on the housing rental market at subsidized prices for those in need of a place to call home.

"We are going to ask this question: who wants to sell? If I buy buildings, I no longer have to build them", pointed out Filipa Roseta, assuring that the council will not buy properties at speculative prices.

In this sense, the purchase of flats that are already built can be "a faster solution" in the use of PRR funds until 2026, in which the city council can use the preemptive right in the transaction of real estate and, "with that, later, have cheaper housing", according to the mayor.

Lisbon has 343 million euros from the PRR, until 2026, to intervene in housing, with the majority of the budget allocated to construction, an option in which "times are long" in terms of execution.

In the European funding clause, there is room for the redistribution of funds between new construction options and purchasing, which "will depend a lot on what exists in the market to buy".



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