Parliament approves rents suspension during the pandemic
The Portuguese government has suspended rent payments during the pandemic.
The measures proposed by the Government were passed by parliament on Thursday and will stay in force during the state of emergency and for once month after.
In practice, given that the State of Emergency was extended on Tuesday for a further 15 days to 17 April to support tenants who have suffered an abrupt fall in their incomes, it means that they won’t have to pay their rents until the end of May.
At the same time, it was also approved unanimously to temporarily suspend rental contract expiries until the end of the crisis to prevent people becoming homeless and stop people looking for new places to live during the contagion period, thereby increasing the risk of spreading the infection.
Pedro Nuno Santos, the Minister of Housing said that: “Housing is one of the areas with most instability and anguish” because of Covid-19 which is why the Government had decided to come up with these measures to strike a balance that would protect families and landlords”.
Pedro Nuno Santos also noted that given the State’s budgetary capacity, the Government would take a risk by moving forward with some of the measures put forward by other political parties. “The State will be called upon to meet the financial and social needs of an infinite number,” he said.
During the period in which rents are suspended, landlords may not annul rental contracts or demand compensation from tenants.
Furthermore, rental contracts which are set to expire in the coming months may not be suspended or cancelled on expiry from April 1.
At the same time, to protect landlords, mortgage loans on properties rented out will also be frozen for the duration of the pandemic.
This suspension for tenants applies only when there is 20% loss of collective income compared to the previous months income. Tenants who want to adhere to this support must inform their landlord in writing up to five says before payment of rent is due and will have 12 months to repay the back rental payments in monthly instalments.
The Government will also help landlords too who are suffering a fall in income because of the Coronavirus with loans from the IHRU – Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation.