In order to prevent the United Kingdom from leaving the European Union without agreement, the Portuguese Parliament passed Law 27-A / 2019 of 28 March, which establishes measures to protect the rights of citizens of the United Kingdom residing in Portugal .
This law requires reciprocal treatment with Portuguese nationals in the United Kingdom. If such reciprocity does not occur, the application of this law will be suspended immediately. Reciprocity will be recognized by resolution of the Council of Ministers.
Right to a Residence Permit in Portugal
All UK nationals and their relatives (spouses, descendants under the age of 21 and ascendants) living in Portugal on the date of leaving the European Union shall retain their right of permanent residence in Portugal until 31 December 2020.
After this date, a temporary residence permit will be granted to UK nationals and family members who, as of the date of Brexit, have resided in Portugal for less than 5 years. For UK nationals and family members who have resided in Portugal for 5 years or more, a permanent residence permit or long-term resident status.
UK nationals shall, after Brexit and until 31 December 2020, submit to the Municipal Councils of the areas of residence or to the Civil Registry Offices the application for the issue of their residence permit by presenting the document which they have so far right to reside in Portugal.
If UK nationals do not have any of these documents, they must show proof of residence in the national territory in the city councils in the area of their residence.
Rights to Study in a Higher Education Institution in Portugal
Until 31 December 2020, UK nationals and family members who enroll or attend higher education in Portugal will continue to have their status as a member of the European Union and not as an international student until they have completed their the studies.
Nationals of the United Kingdom who have been elected to local authority bodies shall remain in office until the end of their term of office. As regards elections to the European Parliament, if the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union takes place up to 15 days before the election, the candidate citizens will be withdrawn of their own motion from the electoral rolls.
UK nationals and family members retain recognition of social security rights in Portugal as long as they have completed compulsory periods of insurance in the United Kingdom. This period should be certified by the UK social security authorities.
Worker’s Rights and Exercise of Professional Activity
UK nationals retain their administrative authorization for the pursuit of professional activities in Portugal for a specified period without any change. They also retain the right to recognition of professional qualifications.
UK nationals residing in Portugal on leaving the United Kingdom of the European Union continue to be beneficiaries of the National Health Service and the provision of health care by the National Health Service.
UK nationals not resident in Portugal (temporary stay) retain the right to health care in the establishments and services of the National Health Service until 31 December 2020 and must present a valid passport for this purpose.
Driving License Rights
As regards driving licenses, United Kingdom nationals and family members must exchange the licenses by 31 December 2020.
On February 12, 2019, the Portuguese Parliament approved new changes to the leasing legislation, in order to implement some measures that balance the rental market in Portugal and, on the other hand, protect the tenant from certain abusive behavior of the landlords. We will explain some of the amendments adopted.
Term of Contract
The approval of Law no. 13/2019 of 12 February establishes that lease agreements must have a minimum duration of one year, with the exception of leases for non-permanent housing or for a special transitional purpose (namely professional reasons, education or tourism). However, this minimum obligation of validity of contract must be coordinated with the minimum terms of 3 or 5 years (according to the purpose of contract) for the landlord to prevent the renewal of the contract, which we explain below.
Prior to the approval of Law no. 13/2019 of February 12, in the absence of a different contract, the lease with a certain term will automatically renew at its end for successive periods of equal duration.
With the approval of Law no. 13/2019, if the agreement does not establish different, the rental for housing is renewed for a minimum period of three years, except in the cases of leases for non-permanent housing or for special temporary purpose.
As regards leases for non-residential purposes, Law no. 13/2019 of 12 February reduces contractual freedom, in particular, prevents landlords from opposing renewal of the contract in the first five years of the contract.
That is, at the same time as Law No 13/2019 of 12 February establishes the minimum duration of one year for leases in general, with a few exceptions, the landlord can never oppose renewal of the contract before 3 years (in the case of housing leases) and 5 years (in cases of non-residential leases).
Compensation in case of delay in payment of rent
With the approval of Law no. 13/2019 of February 12, if the tenant is late in paying the rent, the compensation is reduced from 50% of the amounts owed to only 20% of that amount.
Protection of tenants over the age of 65 or handicapped by disability
Law no. 13/2019 of 12 February extended the situations of transmission by death of the lease that now includes son or stepchild (aged 65 or over) who had lived with the tenant for more than 5 years, since its income is included within the legal limits.
Law 13/2019 of 12 February limits the possibility for the landlord to oppose renewal or to denounce contracts of limited duration for housing purposes concluded after 15 November 1990 if the tenant is over 65 or has proof of incapacity for deficiency of more than 60% and has lived for 20 years in the property leased.
Creation of Injunction for the Tenant
The Rent Injunction was created, which allows the tenant to demand from the landlord the return of the amounts paid by the tenant to carry out works in the lease that, according to the law, should be executed by the landlord.
Prohibition of the landlord’s abusive behavior against the tenant
Law 12/2019 of 12 February establishes a general principle prohibiting harassment in the lease.
The landlord or his representative are prohibited from having disturbing behavior, affecting the dignity of the tenant, sub-tenant or the persons who live with them legitimately in the lease. From now on, certain behaviors are prohibited and punished that create a hostile, degrading, dangerous, intimidating, humiliating, destabilizing or offensive environment for the tenant and his / her relatives; or cause serious damage to the access and enjoyment of the property.
The information in this article does not dispense with the consultation of experienced professionals.
Lisboa, 10 de Abril de 2019
Ana Viegas Correia