COVID-19 rental support in Portugal extended until October 2021

Rental aid Portugal
Rental aid Portugal
20 July 2021, Redaction

1st July 2021 should have marked the end of the rental support scheme managed by the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation in Portugal (IHRU), the scheme providing aid to those people renting property in Portugal who have run into difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis. However, this was not the case, as 1st July 2021 was the day when a further extension of the scheme was confirmed. Portugal has therefore approved another decree-law that safeguards that the current beneficiaries of this rental help scheme in Portugal may access it until 1st October 2021. 

The decision was taken after the Portuguese Government "verified the need to maintain a set of measures that aim, in the short term, to safeguard the right to housing," reads a statement released by parliament. 

In addition to extending the rental help scheme for another 3 months, "changes were also introduced to this exceptional and temporary scheme to ensure that beneficiaries, between the time of submission of the application for support and the final decision by the IHRU, are not subject to the effects of delay or breach of contract," says the document. This amendment is especially important bearing in mind that there are delays in the response by the IHRU, despite the short deadlines established by law.

In order to protect tenants, not only when it comes to the payment of rent in Portugal, but also for other services, "the prohibition to suspend the supply of essential water, electricity, natural gas and electronic communications services was also extended", the same statement reveals.

Note that since April 2020, when the measure was first introduced during the coronavirus crisis, until the beginning of June, the IHRU received a total of 3,309 requests for support for the payment of rent from 2,553 households. However, only 769 families have seen their loan approved so far. Among the main factors cited to justify the rejection of applications are inconsistencies in lease contracts, in the proof of income shortfall (at least 20%) and in the declaration of honour, according to a source from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing. In total, the IHRU has already granted 2 million euros in support through the scheme.

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