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Government approves new housing strategy

On Thursday, the Council of Ministers adopted a new "housing strategy", emphasising that the concrete measures will be presented and discussed in the coming weeks.

Prime Minister Luís Montenegro said: "In the next few days we're going to make it public and in the next few weeks several pieces of legislation will come to the meetings of the Council of Ministers that will concretise exactly the strategy that has been discussed by all the members of the government," he said at a press conference at the end of the meeting, with the right to just two sets of questions.

The announcement came after yet another Government's defeat in Parliament (following the votes on personal income tax deductions and tolls), as a parliamentary majority, joining together the Socialists and Chega, blocked a number of key Goverment proposals.

This would have reversed parts of the previous Government's "Mais Habitação" (More Housing) programme, including limits to short-term rentals and coercive renting.

Instead, the Socialist opposition's proposal to increase the deduction of housing expenses in the IRS was approved with the votes of all parties except the PSD and CDS, who abstained. The measure provides for an increase in rent deductions of up to 800 euros in 2028, while up to 700 euros can already be deducted in the 2025 IRS.

The proposal will now go to the special committee; the aim being for the measure to apply from January 1, 2025, i.e. it will only be reflected in next year’s income tax declarations. 

Two further proposals were approved in generality. One from PAN, which recommends that the government support the beneficiaries of Porta 65 in the initial costs of their rental contracts; and a second from LIVRE, which also recommends that the government ‘reinforce measures to support university accommodation in Portugal’. 

Proposals by the Liberals (to reverse the most restrictive measures of Alojamento Local) were all rejected, as were those tabled by CHEGA, the Communists and the Left Bloc.

The Government's housing reform will still have to go through Parliament, meaning that it's unlikely to see the light of day. But it all depends on how negotiations go in the next few weeks.

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