“The rental market is not good for tenants or landlords”

Most young people stay at home with their parents or other family members until late. Or find another way to save by sharing a home with friends. In September last year, it was reported that young Portuguese were the ones who, in the European Union (EU), left their parents’ home later in 2021, at an average age of 33.6. That is, above the EU average of 26.5 years, according to Eurostat. The data revealed that, two years ago, the EU Member States where young people left their household later were Portugal (33.6 years), Croatia (33.3 years), Slovakia (30.9 years ), Greece (30.7 years) and Bulgaria (30.3 years). .

Teresa Viegas lives with her mother and, now, with her boyfriend, but she doesn’t know how they managed to stay in the apartment they rented in Carnaxide, in the municipality of Oeiras. Just for a T2 they pay 1000 euros and the 25-year-old earns only 810 euros net.

“My friend and I shared the rent, 500 euros each. With the amount left over from my salary, around 300 euros, I pay my expenses (fuel, engine allowance and daily needs). He also has his expenses, but he helps with the shopping at the supermarket and whatever is left from my mother’s pension helps pay the bills… We practically have nothing left, we are literally surviving,” the girl confesses. “We managed to do our supermarket shopping very carefully, as cheaply as possible: but we managed.”

In terms of the statistical office’s study, Sweden (19 years), Finland (21.2 years), Denmark (21.3 years) and Estonia (22.7 years) recorded the lowest average ages, all under 23 years old. O_Eurostat noted that “in most countries of the North and West, young people left their parental home on average in their early to mid-20s, while in countries of the South and East, the average age was in late 20s or early 30s.

“I’m always looking for a home. I have seen T2 in Oira and its surroundings with rents between 800-1000 euros. Apartments much smaller than mine, some in… shabby condition. Urgently in need of renovation, but still at exorbitant prices. Not to mention the terms of the lease: normally, something like: deposit amount 2 (sometimes 3) rents + 1 rent advance + guarantor”, laments Teresa, asking:_”With a rent of 800 euros, 2 deposits are 1600 Plus an advance rent is 2400… More guarantor? Who will be the guarantor of an income worth a salary?’

On average, in the EU, men left their parents’ home at the age of 27.4 and women at 25.5 in 2021. According to Eurostat, this trend was observed in all countries, so that young women left home on average earlier than young people. Eurostat also found that men left their parental home on average after the age of 30 in 11 EU countries (Croatia, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia, Italy, Malta, Spain, Romania and Poland), while this happened to women in only two countries (Portugal and Croatia).

In a similar situation to that of Teresa is Rui Cardoso, 41 years old, who works in the public sector and has an income of around 1215 euros. He broke up with his ex-partner some time ago and was forced to move back into his parents’ house because he doesn’t have enough money to pay for a house in the capital. “Lisbon? With nothing. Just before I could think of places that were cheaper like Amadora, Odivelas, moving to Sintra… At the moment, honestly, I don’t see any difference between the different municipalities,” he explains. “It’s getting worse and I’m afraid I’ll never have independence again.”

“It’s complicated living away from home for 11 years and being back with my parents at that age. The point is that I’m not the only one: we are more and more the people in this situation because it is completely unbearable to bear the current rent prices”, underlines Rui. “I know people, for example, who are in terrible relationships that just never worked or no longer work, and they stay with these people because they don’t have the financial resources to leave home. This is sad and cannot continue,” he emphasizes. “What country do we live in?” he asks.

These are some of the difficulties that home seekers face, but do renters face others? Patrícia Soares has a T2 apartment in Sintra and already had problems renting it. For example, in 2007 he spent about 400 euros to change the lock on the front door because one of the family members living in the house placed a foreign object so that he could not open the door.

Moreover, the conditions in which he was found left much to be desired. “The hygiene was almost non-existent, they entered and left through the windows because it’s on the ground floor… Anyway, I deeply regret renting it, but it was a family of Brazilian citizens who had arrived in Portugal some time ago. and I needed a place to live,” he explains.

Even so, the owner of another apartment, this is a T3 in the municipality of Oiras, did not completely lose faith in the world and lent the house to an acquaintance. “He was a Moroccan citizen who needed a place to live for three or four days. When I realized, he was no longer here, he had gone to Morocco and left his wife and two young children at home,” he says. “When I tried to get them to leave, the lady called PSP claiming she was robbed. The police still looked at me with a look of arrogance as if I was the one who wrongfully possessed private property,” he laments. “I will only be able to solve this problem through legal means.”

Just like Manuel, from Lisbon, whose house was destroyed – even without the taps – six months after the works were carried out, he had to invest again in interventions and, even so, remains uninhabitable. Carlos Barbosa, owner of five apartments (T2 and T3) in the center of Porto, narrates different difficulties, but which lead him to not wanting to see anyone else in his houses. “Most people don’t pay rent on the days I set. I’m patient but over the years I’ve grown tired of it and I don’t think it’s warranted anymore. I have many more negatives than positives. So I’ll probably try to sell the houses and put an end to it,” he sums up.

“Rental housing used to be a good business, but today it only causes headaches. Anyone who thinks that the owners only make money and get rich is very wrong,” he emphasizes. “I know there are those who are serious and pay on time, but the rent market is not good for tenants or landlords. On the one hand, those who need a place to live usually have to pay a price that is not compatible with the salary they earn. And those who want to rent keep the same value for years, decrease or increase and deplore them. It’s very complicated.”

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