Balchin P, (ed.) (1996) Housing Policy in Europe, Routledge

(iii) Statutory rights The following groups have statutory rights to housing:

Council housing, and the housing it replaced.(c)Hulton-Getty.

Unable to produce effective changes in the private rental housing market (strictly controlled from the 1940s to the 1980s), Portuguese governments since 1976 have tended to base their housing policy almost exclusively on a subsidised credit scheme for the acquisition or building of owner-occupied housing. Private rented housing, which is concentrated in urban areas, constituted a dual market (older, low-rent tenancies versus recent, scarce and high-rent ones) and a declining alternative. Its weight in 1981 was 39 per cent of the total stock but has decreased 23 per cent in 10 years, representing 27 per cent of the stock in 1991. Owner-occupation, instead, has increased 26 per cent between 1981 and 1991 passing its share from 57 per cent of the stock in 1981 to 65 per cent in 1991, one of the highest increases in the EU.

Global Housing Markets: Crises, Policies, and Institutions

The Portuguese constitution stages in its article 65 the right to appropriate housing for everyone and requires the government to design and execute a housing policy to make that right effective. Yet this constitutional rule has not been met and the commitment of successive governments to solve the housing problems has been sufficient. Housing policy is designed at the national level, with the definition of objectives and instruments an exclusive competence of the central government. Meanwhile, in spite of the scrapping of the national institution responsible for the development of social housing in 1982, local governments and co-operatives have been called to act an increasing role in the development of social housing production. This change, however, has not had a counterpart in terms of increasing funds available to local governments for that purpose. This, in conjunction with the indebtedness limits legally imposed on them, has restricted their ability to act. Policy, in the past, emphasised rent controls and credit support for home-owners.

At the same time, a significant part of the housing stock (about 240,000 dwellings) is in serious disrepair. Other not so visible problems exist. The last Census (1991) indicates that

This page outlines key issues in housing and urban policy

One of the main areas in which Dutch policy has been innovative is in urban policy. As in other countries, the Netherlands has concentrations of poor quality housing whose residents suffer disproportionately from unemployment and the other forms of deprivation that characterise social exclusion.


The Netherlands has had an active urban regeneration policy although it is now being run down, following the Heerma Memorandum. However, it has created the opportunity to run domestic programmes alongside those funded by the European Union. As in other member states, EU actions relating to housing have been restricted by the rules governing the structural funds, but the Urban Pilot Projects have provided an example of European funds playing a role in urban policy.


The new policy seems to be based on the calculation that the social rented sector does not need to house 40% of the population, and by encouraging them to move to the owner occupied sector, relatively cheap properties will be freed in the social rented sector, without the need to subsidise large programmes of new construction. Those tenants attracted to the owner occupied sector will enjoy generous tax reliefs: mortgage interest tax relief remains unrestricted, although (unusually) it is balanced by a tax on imputed rental income.

Minimal past policies, poor housing

Following a "National Meeting on Housing", where complaints about the neglect of the housing sector by the government put the public authorities under pressure, the government launched in 1993 a broad package of initiatives . This was the "Housing Plan of 1993", again stressed in the "Strategic Options for the Development of Portugal in the period 1994-1999" . The announced goals were to increase the housing supply, improve its condition and to eliminate housing in serious disrepair. The global investment for the execution of the Plan was initially estimated by the government in 270 milliard of escudos (PTE), distributed over six years. A sum of 150 milliards was provided for the elimination of shanty towns in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Oporto . From the actions included in the Housing Plan of 1993, given the magnitude of the housing shortage in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Oporto, reference will be made here to the two programmes particularly intended for them: the one for the elimination of shanty towns and the other for the construction of "low cost" housing.

Singapore Social Housing - Global Urban Development

Taken together these financial reforms mean that the social rented sector is largely free of government control, but must also stand on its own feet. The housing corporations now face tough challenges: