The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, vetoed today the Decree of Law that presents measures under the “More Housing” program, despite not identifying any unconstitutional elements within it. This decision, which is deeply political in nature, means that the legislation, which had previously been approved by the Parliament, has been returned for potential revisions and adjustments.
The President’s decision was not based on legal matters but on concerns regarding the realism and feasibility of the proposals contained within the legislation. Marcelo voiced concerns about excessive optimism and the possibility of heightened expectations in terms of deadlines and available administrative resources.
Despite the President’s veto, the Government, in which the PS party holds a majority, has already communicated that, while respecting Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s opinion, it will reaffirm the legislation without any changes.
However, the President highlighted several risks and criticisms of the legislation, emphasizing the need for careful reconsideration:
- “Except in a limited way, and with European funds, the State will not assume direct responsibility for housing construction.
- The support given to cooperatives or the use of vacant public buildings, or private buildings acquired or contracted for affordable rent, involves slow bureaucracy and recourse to entities overwhelmed with other tasks, such as the Development Bank, or lacking adequate means, like the IHRU.
- The imposed renting seems so limited and delayed that it emerges as a merely symbolic emblem, with its political cost outweighing tangible social benefits.
- The equal complexity of the local accommodation system raises doubts about its ability to quickly achieve desired outcomes.
- The current legislation, despite amendments to imposed renting and local accommodation, hardly allows for a recovery of some of the lost confidence from private investment, given that the public and social investment it entails is limited and slow-paced.
- No new immediate measures are in sight to address the strain many families are experiencing due to rising interest rates and, in many cases, rents.
- There is no current consensus in place, and without a change in direction, one might not emerge until 2026.
- In simpler terms, it is challenging to see where the promised housing supply will emerge swiftly and effectively.”
Concurrently with this decision, Marcelo enacted another housing-related decree, albeit with some reservations, highlighting the need for balance between urban simplification and other significant values, such as the safety and quality of constructions. Moreover, he emphasized the importance of considering the role of Local Administration on housing and territorial planning topics.
The “More Housing” legislation had initially been approved in July, mainly backed by PS. Other parties in Parliament either voted against or chose to abstain. Before its parliamentary approval, the 95-page legislation underwent three months of public discussion, facing opposition from various sectors, including property owners and local accommodation operators.
Rita Tigeleiro Asonfo | Sofia Batista Linguiça | Carla Pereira Rocheta | Cláudia Silva de Lima