Porto has a basket of initiatives to make renting an affordable place easier, Source: Depositphotos

Porto has 8 plans in store to lower rents

Porto has 8 plans in store to lower rents

A policy that seeks to induce private investment to increase the supply of affordable housing

At the end of last week, the Porto City Hall informed the public of its ongoing plan, consisting of eight separate measures, to reduce rental prices locally and to make housing more affordable to a wider segment of the population.

The announcement came in light of the initiatives announced by the Portuguese national government to introduce more affordable housing in the urban property markets, starved by the lack of options and accessibility to a decent home for many people.

The eight measures seek, according to Pedro Baganha, Porto’s councillor for Urbanism and Public Space and Housing, "to attract private investment in increasing the supply of affordable housing".

The eight separate measures

For one, Porto’s Municipal Master Plan is introducing a set of incentives for private development, such as the strategic densification of some parts of the city, the increase in indexes, the reduction of urban fees and inclusive zoning, which obliges the largest urban operations in the centre of the city to a specific allocation for housing for affordable rent.

The municipal program "Porto com Sentido" also provides families with access to housing rentals at prices below market prices in all parishes of the municipality. It seeks to capture private accommodation for the affordable rental market, targeting middle-class families, having so far included 310 beneficiaries in the approximately 165 homes delivered.

The previous program includes "Build to Rent", aimed at privately owned affordable rental housing that is still in the design, construction or refurbishment phase. Its advantages for the private promoter are security in contractual compliance, risk reduction and tax benefits.

In the affordable income market, the municipality has four projects underway for the construction of 1,000 new homes.

Another measure is the renovation of municipal property which will, on the other hand, contribute to reinforcing the supply of housing to the affordable rental market with around 200 new dwellings.

The municipal authorities have also initiated a program to purchase properties, the so-called “ilhas” (islands), which represent low-income, working-class housing dating back to the Industrial Revolution, and to renovate them for the benefit of the residents.

The urban rehabilitation association Porto Vivo recently created the Accessible Housing Desk, to inform and support those interested in preparing applications for the rehabilitation of degraded areas (islands) and their own permanent housing, under the terms of the Support Program for Access to Housing and the Local Housing Strategy.

Porto Solidário – Municipal Social Emergency Fund provides income support in the free rental market. It aims to "promote the maintenance of households in their rented and own homes, combating uprooting and contributing to the reduction of family debt, reducing the financial asphyxiation of many families". Since 2014, it has already helped 4,500 families, with investments of more than 13 million euros.



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