Portugal Beach Properties – In 1864, Portugal’s seashores and inland waterways became public property. In 2005 it was decided that when the decree reached its 150th year in January 2014 all owners of private land in these areas had to present evidence that they owned the property before 1864 so as a to maintain their rights over the property. The same archaic silliness applied to owners of land on cliffs which is covered by another Royal Decree, this time from 1868.
Late last year the deadline for registration was postponed to June 2014 and now the government is working to ensure the necessity for proving the property existed pre-1864 is sensibly amended.
The burden of proof was on the property owner to prove something, often with great difficulty – more often than not this was an impossibility – but now such proof will only be required if there is a legal case that hinges on proof of ownership.
The proof of ownership requirement was creating major problems for these owners, and there are plenty of them as, according to the latest data from the Portuguese Environment Agency, one-third of the country’s coastline is privately owned.
The changes to the legislation will be proposed by the Ministry of Environment and will be debated in Parliament on Thursday under the topic Reform of the Land Use and Ownership of Water Resources.
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