Information

Portugal Property Rights

Portugal Property 

Foreigners are allowed to own property in Portugal without restriction, with nothing less than transparent issues experienced in many countries. Property ownership in Portugal is freehold and registered on a transparent electronic land registry.
 
 
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Portugal Property Rights  

In Portugal, the right to ownership of property is well protected. The 1989 revision of the constitution removed much of the remaining Marxist rhetoric of the original document and laid the groundwork for further privatisation of nationalised firms and the government-owned communications media. The 1992 revision made the constitution compatible with the Maastricht treaty.
 
Freehold - Ownership of property in Portugal is freehold, with the rights and obligations defined in the civil code.
 
No limits - Foreigners are free to own private property in Portugal without exclusion save for the laws governing the source of funds, defined in the money laundering legislation. There is furthermore no limitation to the value and number of properties that foreigners may own in Portugal.
 
Electronic Land Registry - The buying and registering of the property title in Portugal, is probably one of the most transparent in the world. Portuguese properties have their title recorded on an official electronic land registry allowing buyers and their legal representatives to easily inspect details of ownership. Therefore it is not uncommon for Portuguese citizens to attend to the purchase and sale of property directly themselves, without the intervention of a solicitor. Nevertheless we strongly recommend that our foreign clients appoint a Portuguese solicitor who is legally qualified to represent their interests.
 
 
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Planning Laws
 
Portugal has one of the strictest planning laws in Europe, it has been instrumental in preventing Portuguese ‘hotspots’ on the Silver Coast, Lisbon Coast and Algarve from suffering the same fate as the overdeveloped Costa’s, allowing the country to maintain its traditional feel and atmosphere.
 
Controlled development - In 1993 planning laws were introduced in Portugal, following a rash of over-development in Spain, the Portuguese learned very quickly that they did not want to have the same experience in Portugal.
 
PDM - Portugal has what is essentially a master plan controlling construction and habitation, referred to as the PDM. This document sets out in detail the occupational density allowed in each municipality throughout Portugal, it defines the urbanised areas namely the local villages and parishes determining the density of construction, even at a very localised level.
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Environment - The Portuguese PDM furthermore defines the zones allocated to agriculture and protected green areas such as forestry, natural parks and coastal reserves. There have been revisions to the PDM which take place every five years or so, allowing for adjustments to deal with local realities and amendments for specific regions. In the Algarve there is special reference to the PROTAL which defines the level and type of accommodation allowed to be developed. The PROTAL is focussed essentially on the Algarve coast, limiting the beach and waterfront locations to tourism, promoting residential occupation further inland.
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Private beaches - There are no private beaches in Portugal, beaches in Portugal are public throughout the country guaranteeing free public access to all people.
 
The Portuguese people take a lot of pride in their country and the manner in which they have been able to protect it both culturally and environmentally. There is a deep-seated desire in most Portuguese people to pass Portugal over to the next generation in a better condition than it was received. It is this respect for both culture and the environment that will guarantee that; the quality of life we enjoy in Portugal today will continue for generations. 
 
 
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Rehabilitation of Urban Centres
 
Portuguese are proud of their heritage and in recent recent years there has been a drive to protect and restore old buildings as a celebration of that heritage. European towns and villages have in the past experienced a level of desertification of the town centres by the younger inhabitants to the outskirts of the town, leaving behind an ageing population whose numbers continue to reduce. Portugal has been no different in this regard, with historical buildings falling in to disrepair.
 
Government Initiative - The Portuguese government has intervened with the support of local municipalities to reverse this cycle with special incentives to promote the rehabilitation of urban centres in partnership with the private sector. This initiative was included in the Portugal 2020, with the support of EU funding. Together with the EU,1.4 Billion Euros of funding (IFRRU 2020)has been made available since October 2017 to subsidise the rehabilitation of buildings over the age of 30 years, which are essentially abandoned commercial, industrial and residential properties. The funding is made up of approximately €700 million of public and EU funds including the Portugal 2020, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), the remaining €700 million made available by four Portuguese banks utilising government guarantees.
 
IFRRU 2020 - The IFRRU 2020 program essentially offers applicants loans at discount to market rates and special conditions to secure the loans. There is furthermore flexibility granted in the period of loans and the settlement thereof, such as extended deadlines and grace periods. For projects which do not inherently hold sufficient security for the banks there is a guarantee by the Portuguese Mutual Guarantee System which is accessible to companies. The IFRRU 2020 program is available to developers who wish to rehabilitate historic buildings which have been indicated by local councils for rehabilitation. This program is available for historical urban centres in both towns and villages, located throughout Portugal.
 
Impact - Urban Rehabilitation has most certainly had the most impact in the city of Lisbon which has experienced a boom in property since 2012 with property prices increasing at an average of 15% per annum. Many of the capital's inner city buildings which were vacant for many years, have now found new life as residential buildings, rehabilitated and sold to wealthy international investors.
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Whilst the impact has been greatest in Lisbon, other cities and towns have also experienced growth as a result of the rehabilitation program. Porto, Portugal’s second largest city has also experienced growth, the general trend to rehabilitate the urban centres can be observed in even the smallest of towns and villages throughout Portugal.
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