Lisbon’s Answer To High Rents For Essential Workers

exterior view of apartment building in Lisbon
Lisbon apartments (8217032171) photo by Cat Burston is licensed under CC BY 2.0
High rents in Lisbon have been driving essential workers out of the city.

Lisbon is inviting short term rental landlords to get into the long term rental business.

Concerned that there is no housing in the city that is affordable for essential workers, Lisbon is offering to top up tenant rents to cover the gap between 30% of their income and rent being charged by the landlord. The program will run for five years and is planned to apply to up to 1,000 units. This will be welcome news for the households that receive rent relief.

With COVID-19 cutting off revenues for short term rentals, this is a good opportunity for Lisbon to dangle an attractive income-producing offer to landlords while improving housing affordability for essential workers.

The following article is particularly interesting because it discusses the series of public policy decisions that led to the proliferation of short term rentals and high rents for locals. Housing advocates, policy makers and decision makers may find this aspect particularly helpful.1 Read more at Huffington Post: Lisbon Says Airbnb Forced Out Locals. Here’s Its Plan To Bring People Back.


  1. For a discussion of programs that help households to pay rent in the private sector, try: Rent Regulation: The Clash Of Housing As Investment vs. Housing As Shelter