Guide to the Urban Development Simplex


Main changes - Decree-Law 10/2024

Guide to the Urban Development Simplex
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January 25, 2024

The Urban Development Simplex (Simplex Urbanístico) legislative package, approved by Decree-Law 10/2024 of January 8 (“Decree-Law 10/2024” or “Simplex”), aims to reform the legal regime on permits for urban development operations while retaining the existing system structure that has been in force in Portugal since the Legal Regime for Urbanization and Building (“RJUE”) was approved in 1999.

The approved amendments aim to simplify and speed up procedures. This goal will be achieved either by eliminating or easing existing legal requirements and parameters used to assess projects, or by removing the legal opportunity for licensing bodies—particularly municipal councils—to intervene. For example, the range of urban development operations that are currently subject to prior notification or are exempt from prior checks will be expanded.

It is worth noting one significant paradigm change brought about by these amendments: the shift of municipalities’ control of urban development operations from the pre-execution phase (prior control) to the moment of execution or even completion (simultaneous and successive checks).

This guide summarizes the most significant amendments and their impact. However, it is not an in-depth study, which requires analyzing specific cases, further developing the analysis of the rules in question, and considering administrative practice.

  1. Overview of main changes
  2. Transfer of ownership of urban buildings: Obligation to present licenses and housing technical data sheets (FTH) revoked
  3. Overview of changes to prior checks (RJUE)
  4. New exemptions from prior checks (RJUE)
  5. New prior notification cases (RJUE)
  6. Licensing cases (RJUE)
  7. Assessment and supervision by municipal councils (RJUE)
  8. Deadlines, requests for information and opinions (RJUE and Decree-Law 309/2009)
  9. Deadline for licensing decisions—tacit approval (RJUE)
  10. Elimination of building permit and use permit titles (alvarás) (RJUE)
  11. Elimination of use permits approval and use permit title (alvará)
  12. Change in use of an autonomous unit for housing purposes (condominiums)
  13. New procedures for rezoning rural land as urban land
  14. Future developments under the RJUE
  15. Key dates in the Simplex
View document
January 25, 2024