Lisbon City Council Seeks to Take Over Management of Hundreds of Homes Owned by IHRU and Social Security

30 January 2019

The package transferring powers from the State to the municipalities was accepted in Lisbon – with votes in favour by the PS, PSD and PPM. The CDS abstained, and the rest of the political parties voted against the measure. In the case of housing, the municipality will start managing hundreds of homes owned by the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation (IHRU) and Social Security (SS).

In the capital, “a set of neighbourhoods owned by the IHRU, along with another dispersed set of assets, which are residential, which are managed by the IHRU or the Social Security Institute,” will be transferred to the city council, João Paulo Saraiva, councillor in charge of Finance and Human Resources stated. “There are a number of homes in these circumstances,” he added in a meeting with the press before presenting the municipality’s proposal to the Municipal Assembly.

According to Dinheiro Vivo, the municipality did not have to confirm its acceptance but wanted to demonstrate its “affirmative” position. It added that the large part of the new responsibilities it will inherit would not result in new financial burdens. Such is the case with road maintenance, where there is already an agreement for financial transfers from Infrastructures of Portugal (IP).

In the case of housing, negotiations with the IHRU and the SS are now underway. A committee to analyse the transfer, with members from both parties, will have six months to issue a report that sets out the costs and revenues associated with the real estate – a large part of which will result from relocation operations in Lisbon. Three months the committee issues its report, the municipality will make a decision, with final approval in the Municipal Assembly.

Many state-owned properties are derelict

One of the highest estimated costs is related to taking over the State’s residual assets that require recuperation for placement on the residential market or use as other facilities. “It would create the possibility of using the State’s properties for housing, or other facilities. It is often very difficult to find the needed space in a consolidated and historic city like ours. It could potentially allow us to use the State’s real estate to resolve some of the biggest problems that the municipality faces,” Mr Saraiva argued.

The state will identify unused assets that it is interested in transferring, while the city council will also choose those assets it would be interested in taking over and eventually putting on the market – particularly for the middle class, the Lisbon councillor explained.

Original Story: Idealista

Translation: Richard Turner