May 24, 2019 - No Comments!

Recent changes in the Portuguese Legal Regime governing lease agreements for housing

There have been recent legislative changes in the Portuguese law governing lease
agreements, which are aimed at giving additional protection to tenants and promote the
rental market and its stability.

In terms of lease agreements for housing, some of the most relevant changes include:
• Lease agreements must now have a minimum duration of 1 year and cannot go
beyond 30 years, save for temporary cases, such as professional, educational and
touristic purposes, where they can be signed for less than 1 year;
• Unless the parties stipulate otherwise, lease agreements with an initial duration of less
than 3 years are now automatically renewed for a further minimum period of 3

• If the landlord opposes to the renewal of the lease for the first time, this opposition
only produces its effects 3 years after the lease agreement has been signed (even
if the contract was signed for a duration of less than 3 years), except when the
landlord or his first line descendants need the property for their own housing;
• While before, the landlord could claim an additional compensation of 50% of the
amount due from the tenant, should there be outstanding rents, this compensation
is now reduced to 20%;

• While before, the landlord could claim payment of the rents against both the tenant
and the guarantor, provided that he/she had notified the tenant of the amount of
outstanding rents in advance, the landlord must now also inform the guarantor in
advance, before being able to claim payment of the outstanding rents from the
latter as well;

• In cases where there is no written lease agreement, and provided that this situation is
not attributable to the tenant, the latter can now prove the existence of the lease
by showing the use of the property without opposition from the landlord, together
with the payment of the rent for a minimum period of 6 months.

• When the lease agreement has indefinite duration, the landlord must now give a pre-
notice of 5 years (as opposed to the former 2 years) to the tenant, from the date

on which the lease will end, and must confirm this termination notice to the tenant
again between 12 to 15 months from the date on which the lease will end.
• While before, if the tenant passed away, the lease would only pass onto the civil
partner and/or cohabitee who lived with him for more than a year, if they also lived
at the leased property for more than a year, this last requirement is now abolished,
meaning that the lease will pass onto the civil partner and/or cohabitee, provided
that they lived with the tenant for more than 1 year, even if they lived at the lease
property for less than that period. As for the tenant’s spouse, the situation remains
unchanged, meaning that, should the tenant pass away, the lease will pass on to
the spouse, as long as the latter already lived at the lease property, regardless of
the period.

Lisbon, 24th May 2019
By Rodrigo Noronha Mourão, Associate at EDGE International Lawyers – Litigation Department
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