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Guide to urban rehabilitation

The theme of urban rehabilitation has been explored by several investors. Since support and benefits became a reality, demand for this construction option has increased. In order to remodel the historic centres of the cities, rehabilitation programs were launched.


Photo by Jcomp


What is urban rehabilitation?

It is the process of construction or reconstruction on buildings that once guaranteed all the necessary housing conditions. This type of construction includes extensions, demolitions and building constructions.

After the reconstruction of the building, it must present an energy certificate equal to or greater than the previous one.


Which areas are part of urban rehabilitation areas?

Only the areas delimited by each city council may receive urban rehabilitation works. Find out about them at the city councils, or on the website of each municipality. If your house is in one of these areas, you can benefit from tax and financial support.


What support programmes exist?


  • IFFRU 2020

One of the national programmes that had the greatest effect on rehabilitation and revitalisation is IFFRU 2020. This programme supports investment in the reconstruction of buildings and industrial complexes in inactivity. The buildings must be more than 30 years old and must be in the municipal plan of action for urban regeneration. The building must be intended for permanent housing or economic activities.

This program supports a six-month grace period during the investment, loans up to twenty years of maturity, interest rates with values below those practiced.

If you want to make an application or learn more about this program, find out all about it here.


  • Rehabilitate to Rent

The Rehabilitation for Rent programme (Rehabilitar para Arrendar) is managed by the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation (Instituto de Habitação e Reabilitação Urbana) with the support of the European Investment Bank. This programme can also only be applied to buildings that are thirty or more years old but, in this case, its only aim is to be an affordable rental habitation.

The programme supports with a bank credit of up to fifteen years, and 90% of the necessary amount. For more information about this programme, please see all the data here.


  • JESSICA Fund

The Fund is supported by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Development Bank. The objective of this fund is also urban rehabilitation, but to create spaces for SMEs and innovative companies.

Bank credit can be granted for up to 20 years, with a minimum amount of 100 thousand euros. Learn more about this fund here.



Portugal is one of the countries with the fewest new constructions, due to some obstacles created, such as the tight environmental regulations, the lack of manpower and the lack of space for new constructions. All programmes supporting urban rehabilitation have the purpose of revitalising areas that are inhabited or have less than decent housing conditions, meeting the needs of new construction. The IFFRU 2020 programme has already invested 538 million euros in 60 cities and is a national success story.