New Deadline for Classifying Urban/Rural Lands: The End of 2022

The new deadline for adaptation to the new legislation referred to in previous publications has been set for the end of 2022.

Published in the Official Gazette, the Decree-Law No. 25/2021, dated March 29, provides important changes in matters relevant to the management of real estate projects and assets. According to Hugo Santos Ferreira, this is “A great victory for APPII, for its Associates and all national real estate developers.” At stake is an amendment to the RJIGT (Alteration to the Legal Regime of Territorial Management Instruments), the extension of deadlines and urbanisable land.

According to the decree, the changes were motivated by the need to ensure the completion of the task of adopting, in municipal or inter-municipal plans, the rules of classification and qualification of lands provided for in Law No. 31/2014 of 30 May, in its current wording, concretized by articles 69 to 74 of RJIGT. These are set out in Articles 69 to 74 of the RJIGT and in Regulatory Decree 15/2015 (August 19), which establishes the land classification and reclassification criteria, as well as the qualification criteria and categories of rural and urban land according to the dominant use, applicable to all of Portugal.

Following the publication of Decree-Law 3/2021 (January 7), which includes a second amendment to Law 31/2014 (May 30), extends deadline for transposition into territorial plans of the rules of special land management plans in force, established in paragraph 1 of Article 78 of that law to July 13, 2021. The need was to clarify and make more flexible the regime of transposition of these rules, established in Article 198 of the RJIGT;

Another reason was to adjust the provisions of article 200 of the RJIGT to promote the assimilation of regional zoning plans and sectoral plans expressly provided for by law to the types of territorial management instruments that currently ensure their continuity, namely regional programmes and sectoral programmes.

The amendments also seek to establish measures to ensure that territorial plans are updated due to the preparation, modification or review of special programmes. First and foremost, the preventive measures that have been established to ensure the preparation, amendment or review of special programmes, including those currently in force, shall remain in force until the territorial plan is updated, without prejudice to the period of validity and other conditions for expiry established by law;

Finally, the need, conveyed through a recommendation of the CNT, to provide for the reclassification, by amendment or review of the territorial plan, of land for the creation or expansion of business areas adjacent to urban land should be considered. However, this possibility does not affect the exceptionality and strict conditionality of this reclassification, under the terms set out in article 72 of the new RJIGT.