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.

Contract renovation

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