Legal restrictions

1. Acquisition of immovable property by foreign persons/companies.

In Portugal anyone can buy immovable property. Nationality does not play a role. However, as for nationals:

  •  The buyer will have to apply for a tax number at the Portuguese taxes services; that number will be needed to subscribe the purchase title and will be included in the registration act of the property right, at land registry services (besides name, residence, civil status and, if married, name of husband/wife and marriage patrimonial settlement, or corporate body identification).

2. Acquisition of agricultural land: restrictions and limitations.

In relation to agricultural land, nationality does not play a role. The existing restrictions are applicable to buyers, no matter their nationality.

 

Table 4

Legal restrictions on acquisition of agricultural land Legal provisions A way that the property can be freed from them
Restrictions to agricultural land division into smaller parcels than the minimum land unit area
  • Articles 1376º – 1382º Civil Code
  • Executive rule 202/70, April 21st
  • Executive law 103/90, March 22th
There is no way to free property from this legal obligation.
Pre-emption right of adjoining properties

In the benefit of owners of adjoining properties on the transfer of agricultural land, especially the ones included in the National Agricultural Reserve. (See above table 1 – pre-emption right and table 2 – other legal restrictions)

  • Article 1380º Civil Code
  • Decree-law No. 73/2009
To free the property from this pre-emption right the owner must notify the beneficiary of the Pre-emption right off his intention to sell. This beneficiary shall indicate whether it intends to exercise its right or not.
National Agricultural Reserve (RAN)

(See above table 1 – pre-emption right and table 2 – other legal restrictions)

Decree-Law n. º 73/2009 of 31 March. To free the property from this pre-emption right the owner must notify the beneficiary of the Pre-emption right off his intention to sell. This beneficiary shall indicate whether it intends to exercise its right or not.

There is no way to free property from the legal obligations.

National Ecological Reserve (REN)

(See above Table 2)

Decree-law n. º 166/2008 of 18 November. The Commission for Coordination and Regional Development or the Municipality can give permits to construction or other uses of the land.
Reporting obligations:

Legal transactions resulting in the splitting or division of agricultural land are submitted by parties to the municipality, which promotes communication thereof to the Portuguese Geographic Institute.

Article 50º Decree-law 555/99 There is no way to free property from this legal obligation.

 

3. Acquisition of flat property: legal restrictions.

Table 5

Legal restrictions on acquisition of flat property Legal provisions A way that the property can be freed from them
Condominiumestablishment

The acquisition of a flat must be preceded by the establishment of the condominium over the building.
Usually, the internal statutes are approved lately by the condominium assembly; it does not content restrictions to property acquisition, only to regular use of the building and common areas.

Articles 1414º to 1438º-A Civil Code.

This act must be inscribed in the land register.
Municipality services must give permit to the condominium establishment.

There is no way to free property from this legal obligation.
Permit of use

This permit must be submitted to the notary and mentioned in the deed of any transfer of ownership of urban property, without which the act is null (article 1 Decree-Law 281/99).

Article 1 Decree-law 281/99.

This information can be registered in land registry since 2008.

There is no way to free property from this legal obligation. Exceptions:

– Buildings constructed before 7August 1951 do not need to have this permit, if the construction date is stated at any legal document no further document is needed, if not a statement of that date from the municipality is required;

– The same happens with buildings constructed by the State or other public bodies, but in this case a statement of these entities must be submitted to prove this fact.

Technical fact sheet of the immovable

The Technical fact sheet is a document describing the main technical and functional characteristics of the building close to urban housing, reported to the time of completion of construction, reconstruction, extension or amendment.
It is an obligation of Real Estate Developer to fill the Technical fact sheet as well as to make it available for the buyers.
Since August 16, 2004, is required to deliver to de buyer this document and the notary will check this deliver at the deed.

Decree-Law n º 68/2004 of 25 March

Land registry services do not cover these matters.

There is no way to free property from this legal obligation

Exceptions:

Buildings already-built and for which permit of use was issued or applied, prior to March 30, 2004;
-Buildings constructed before the entry into force of the General Regulations of Urban Buildings (RGEU), approved by Decree-Law 38 382, 7 August 1951.

Energy Certificate

The energy certificate is a document that contains information about the characteristics of energy consumption of a property. This is a PDF recorded on a digital system managed by ADENE (http://www.adene.pt).
The Energy Certificate is required by law in the sale / purchase, leasing or renting property in Portugal. This document must be presented to the prospective buyer, lessee or tenant at the time of conclusion of the contract of sale / purchase, leasing or renting.

Decree-law n º 78/2006 of 4 April

Land registry services do not cover these matters.

The Energy Certificate is prepared by a Qualified Expert generally associated with a company in the area. Once the registration fee paid to the Adene Energy Certificate is completed and is valid for ten years.

 

4. Acquisition of immovable property in special areas (such as on the coast or near military-related sites or in national parks, in the mountains, etc.)

Table 6

Legal restrictions on acquisition of immovable property in special areas Legal provisions A way that the property can be freed from them
National and Natural Parks

National and Natural Parks are submitted to legal restrictions of use and construction. Once the land parcel is already privately owned there are no restrictions to acquisition of private property in these areas. You will find answer to that question by consulting land registry services. However part of these areas are owned by the Estate and normally not available for immovable trade. These areas are supervised by the “Institute for Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity” (ICNB) – www.icnb.pt – in this Internet site you can find list of all parks and natural reserves and each specific regulation.

Law 11/87, April 7th – Basis law for environment;

Decree-law 142/2008, April 27th – legal system for the conservation of Nature and biodiversity.

Land registry services do not cover these matters.

There is no way to free property from this legal obligation.

For some actions it is possible to request a permit to the Municipal services, under national authority in these matters (the ICNB).

Public Waters Domain

Limits to private property of watersides (or more if there are longer beaches):
– Sea and sailing rivers or lakes – 50m
– Other sailing waters – 30m
– Other not sailing waters – 10m
Adjacent zones (privately owned) may be burden with restrictions in the Classification Act, which are supposed to be registered at land registry services.

Law No. 54/2005 of 29 November, No. 58/2005 of 29 November, Decree-law No. 226-A/2007 and No. 115/2010.

This information is not publicized by the land registry.

There is no way to free property from this legal obligation.

For some actions it is possible to request a permit to the National Water Institute (INAG)

Military-related sites

Abutting land parcels on military sites are submitted to military servitudes and there may be applied other restrictions to property rights

Law 2078, Jul 11th 1955

Decree-law 45986, Oct. 22nd 1964

Decree-law 22591, March 23rd 1967.

This information is not publicized by the land registry.

There is no way to free property from this legal obligation.

For some actions it is possible to request a permit to the military authorities.

Real estate property near national roads

Non eadificandi area – 200m on each side of the road.

Executive law 13/94, January 15th – Non eadificandi area – 200m on each side of the road.

This information is not publicized by the land registry.

There is no way to free property from this legal obligation.

It is possible to request a permit to the competent authorities www.estradasdeportugal.pt

 

5. Acquisition of immovable property and listed monuments and memorials.

Table 7

Legal restrictions on acquisition of immovable property and listed monuments and memorials Legal provisions A way that the property can be freed from them
Monuments and listed buildings or sites are supervised by the “Institute for Management of Architectural and Archaeological Patrimony” (IGESPAR) – www.igespar.pt.

– Constructions or any other modifications can’t be allowed by municipal services without approval of the IGESPAR;

– There is a pre-emption right on the sale of properties in the area of protection of classified buildings.

Law 107/2001, Sept. 8th – Legal system for the protection of historical sites, monuments and other cultural patrimony;

-Decree-law 309/2009, Oct 23rd – rules the procedure for classification (and also declassification) of monuments or other listed buildings or cultural patrimony.

Classification of monuments should be inscribed at the land registry, but in general this registry is not updated.

Non-compliance with the restrictions of use or any others contained at the classification statute may determine submission to fine payment and, or, expropriation;

To avoid pre-emption right the owner must notify the beneficiary of the Pre-emption right off his intention to sell. This beneficiary shall indicate whether it intends to exercise its right or not.

 

6. Planning Code and legal restrictions (pre-emption right; approval by the municipality or other authorities; splitting a land parcel).

Table 8

Legal restrictions related urban planning Legal provisions A way that the property can be freed from them
(See above III)

Land division or land restructure operations require municipal approval that ensures the respect of the urbanization plan.

According to the urbanization plan it may occur the expropriation of land if necessary to develop the plan specifications (subject to compensation from the landlord or/and lessee or tenant)

– Decree-Law 380/99, Sept. 22nd (Rules basis legal system for territorial ordnance and urbanization and the coordination of national and local territorial management);

– Decree-Law 555/99,

Dec. 16th ( Rules legal system for urbanization and building).

The division approval act and its specifications, including restrictions to property rights and to the use of the land parcels, are registered (compulsory) at land registry offices.

It is necessary to obtain a permit from the municipality (that, according to the law, may have to consult other agencies, for example, the ones responsible for the environment, agriculture, and monuments and archaeological, etc). This permit may include donation of parcels to the municipality to integrate municipal dominium and serve public facilities.

7. Land given by the municipality to domestic inhabitants: legal restrictions?.

Table 9

Legal restrictions related to Land given by the municipality to domestic inhabitants Legal provisions A way that the property can be freed from them
There are some legal models for some specific type of families, due to social or economic difficulties.

Example: Flat property built up with the approval of the National Institute for Housing – www.inh.pt – to promote the human right to housing – cannot be sold within 5 years.

Example: Decree-Law 165/93 May 7th

These restrictions are included at the registration of the acquisition.

In some (limited) cases the authorities may allow the transmission.

8. Acquisition of immovable property and tax affairs.

Taxes payment due to immovable purchase must occur before the subscription of the purchase deed. Land registry procedure covers the taxes payment obligation, and the real property registration can’t be carried out without the certification of taxes payment.

9. Destination of the land parcel and legal restrictions.

It is possible to see from the description of the parcel the use and destination given to it. Also legislation is improving and including more information at the description of the land parcel. For example:

  • Seizure of building works – Executive law 555/99 (see above question VI)
  • Touristic destination given the immovable – article 90º-A, Land Registry Code (Executive law 224/84, Jul. 6th, again published under Executive law 116/2008, Jul. 4th), and Executive law 39/2008, March 7th.

10. Any other legal, very specific restrictions.

There may be some particular situations regulated by other specific legislation; however if it is so, the eventual restrictions on property rights will be registered at land registry.