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Decree Law No. 37/2018

Publication: Republic Diary No. 106/2018, Series I of 2018-06-04
  • Issuer: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 37/2018
  • Pages: 2348 - 2364

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law creates a new housing public support programme for people who have poor living conditions and cannot afford housing.

What will change?

The 1.º Direito — Housing Support Programme, will be created to give suitable housing to people in poor living conditions and cannot afford housing.

How will the 1.º Direito support programme be granted

The support will be granted:

  • directly to people who need suitable housing
  • by renting houses in order to sublet to people in need
  • by rehabilitating existing housing to rent to people in need
  • by building houses to rent to people in need
  • through the collaboration between:
    • entities from different fields
    • central, regional and local administration
    • public, private and cooperative sectors.

Municipalities must plan the housing solutions they prefer for their territory, identify the people who live in poor conditions and manage their support requests. Then, the Institute for Housing and Urban Renewal will manage the available funds according to the necessary funding and the proposed projects. It will also monitor the programme’s implementation and assess it every two years.

Who can benefit from the 1.º Direito programme?

Portuguese citizens or citizens from other European Union countries with a valid residence card can benefit from this support if they are in financial difficulty and live in conditions that are:

  • uncertain
  • unhealthy and unsafe
  • overcrowded
  • unsuitable.

People are living in substandard conditions if they are homeless people or people who lost their homes due to bankruptcy, domestic violence, demolition of the their house or their leasing contract was not renewed. For leasing contracts, this applies if the family has only one adult, they live with a disabled person or if the leaseholder is over 65.

People are living in unhealthy and unsafe conditions if their housing has no basic conditions of health, safety, hygiene and shelter.

People are living in overcrowded conditions if their housing has insufficient rooms for the number of tenants — two rooms short of the criteria established by the National Institute of Statistics.

People living in unsuitable conditions if their housing is incompatible with their specific characteristics, such as architectural barriers for people with impairments or disabilities.

There will be support for entities that create acceptable housing solutions

Entities that create housing solutions for people in need can be supported. They include:

  • the State, the Autonomous Regions, municipalities and associations of municipalities
  • public companies, public corporations or public institutes and municipal companies
  • charities, private institutions of social solidarity and other entities of public interest, such as those running safe houses for victims of domestic violence
  • residents associations and building and housing cooperatives formed by people living in unfinished buildings or in camps
  • entities that own housing in run-down areas of cities (for example, in the "islands" of Oporto and in the "villages" of Lisbon).
There will be several types of support in the 1.º Direito programme

1. Expenses can be paid for:

  • housing construction or restoration works
  • purchasing houses
  • necessary work and materials to improve home accessibility
  • projects, monitoring and work safety
  • necessary registration and notary formalities to receive funding.

The funding can be total or just part of the expense. This funding can be provided through non-repayable grants or a low interest loan to pay for the remaining non-subsidised expenses.

The funding’s total amount cannot exceed 90% of the total expense value but can be for the total amount when it is granted directly to the people, or to provide housing for people living in unfinished buildings, camps or run-down areas of cities.

2. Projects or building materials can also be donated.

3. Entities that create housing solutions will be financed when:

  • subletting with lower rents
  • working to restore housing to lease to people in need
  • buying land to build housing to lease to people in need
  • building housing to lease to people in need
  • buying housing to lease to people in need.
What are its benefits?

This decree-law is intended to ensure access to suitable housing for people who have poor living conditions and cannot afford housing.

When does it come into effect?

This decree-law comes into effect the day after being published.

Original Version


  • Legal translator is the translation of texts within the field of law


Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.