What is the legal position on prefabricated houses in Portugal? I am thinking of buying some rural land near the beach and the agent says I won’t need planning permission if I put a prefabricated mobile home there . Is this correct?
The licensing requirement for prefabricated buildings and wooden houses and the like is heavily governed by law.
The following clarifies the legal situation (subject to the prior inspection of them) of prefabricated buildings, wooden houses, mobile homes, model houses, containers, caravans and other similar solutions.
Over time, Portugal has seen an increasing amount of these kind of buildings. In this context, clarification regarding the legislative framework to which all these solutions are subject is well overdue.
The permanent occupation of the land and the use of the spaces comes under the terms of the RJUE – Legal Regime for Urbanization and Building, approved by Decree-Law no. 555/99, of 16 December, in the current wording.
Some commercial operators that sell, build or install this type of solutions may claim that their installation is exempt from licensing due to its dismountable or removable character.
This is not true.
It is equally false, and in breach of the obligations imposed on real estate agents, if they advertise for sale rustic buildings and claim it is possible to install these solutions without the need for licensing. They should not even advertise a rustic building with unlicensed installations already there, or claim that this is possible or legal.
Unlicensed buildings can be seized and destroyed by the authorities.
The law states that:
– Even if any of the solutions indicated above is only placed above the ground, or involves only the implantation of a metallic structure, foundations, shoes, pillars or piles, or is placed on a concrete slab or base or is supported only on wheels, it is still subject to licensing.
– All construction intended for human use that is incorporated or connected to the ground or connected to networks and infrastructures (electricity, sanitation / septic tank, water supply, etc.) on a permanent basis, is considered an urban operation and subject to prior control by the procedures provided for in the RJUE, regardless of the construction system employed or the dismountable or removable character.
– Any of these land occupations is subject to compliance with the legal provisions and the easements and restrictions of public utility applicable, namely in soils covered by the National Agricultural Reserve, National Ecological Reserve, as well as the Territorial Management Instruments that affect the areas of any Region or County of Portugal.
– Any of these constructions or facilities is also subject to compliance with the municipal norms in force at the level of the Municipal Master Plan, as well as any other applicable rules and regulations such as the General Regulation of Building and Urbanization, the Regulation of Urbanization and Municipal Building or the Regime Accessibility Law, in addition to the criteria of acoustic conditioning and thermal behavior, among others.
– Even in the specific case of mobile homes, caravans or motorhomes that do not remain in the same place over time, this feature does not exempt them from prior control, in accordance with the provisions of article 18, no. 1 of Decree-Law no. 310/2002, of 18 December, in the current wording, and in compliance with the conditions set out in the Municipal Regulation for Licensing of Casual Camping and Caravanning Activities.
This note for public clarification does not dispense with reading the legislation and regulations in force, in particular the Recommendation of the National Territory Commission No. 1/2019, available here
Answer supplied on 1 Dec 2020 by real estate agent Antonio Barbosa from Infinite Solutions
I want to buy a home in Portugal but it needs to be rural and suitable for me to live a self sufficient lifestyle. I am also on a tight budget. Where can I find properties like these?
There is one website, www.pureportugal.co.uk, which acts as an aggregator for these kinds of properties and is dedicated to showcasing houses for sale, mainly for those looking for a rural lifestyle, smallholding, or living self sufficiently. Whether your dream is to buy an old ruin and renovate it, or to buy a home that is ready to move into, the team at Pure Portugal say they are experts in this area and have properties for every budget, so it may be worth your while to have a look
Answer supplied on 1st October 2020