Government begins to tackle licencing problems
Clearing a large part of planning licensing backlog piled up in municipal councils, setting clear rules on timeframes, certificating tacit deferrals, and streamlining and simplifying the hundreds of municipal regulations that currently exist are some of the reforms to Portugal’s real estate project planning procedures that cause endless red tape and headaches for developers and delay projects for months and even years, causing huge costs in the process.
These are the goals of a Government online policy to simplify rules on urban and land use planning permission that are contained within the More Housing package that will be debated in parliament on Friday.
The aim is to reduce red tape and put the onus on developers to follow procedures correctly giving local councils the power to supervise the projects afterwards.
According to a report in Negócios, those in the sector interviewed by the business daily believe that the new rules could accelerate planning permission processes in town and cities that currently get swamped in piles of paperwork and red tape.
On the table is a request to draft a law although the proposal has an outline Degree-Law attached to it which would be approved by the government afterwards.
These laws have come about from the need to speed up the construction of new housing and renovation of existing properties, even more urgent now because of the time limits imposed by Brussels to use millions of euros in funding earmarked for middle class housing projects in Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The Government plans to build “dignified” housing (read affordable rental housing) for 26 families by 2026 but so far the amount that has actually been used is €50 million or just 3% of the total, which means 97% of European funds have not been allocated.
For example, the Support to Access Housing (PAAH) has €1,211 million for 26,000 homes but only €46 million has been allocated. (4%)
Then Public Housing for Affordable Rental which has €775 million to put 6,800 houses up for rental has seen less than 1% allocated or €3.7 million!
“We are in sync on this proposal whose objective is to alleviate licencing timings and I think accelerating these timings on projects with this proposed legislation would do a lot for public confidence on the engineering side”, said the President of the Order of Engineers, Fernando Almeida Santos.
Photo: Miguel A.Lopes – Lusa