Following on the success of a pilot project, Portugal is launching an initiative to give every property in Portugal a unique identification number.

The project was conceived following the devastating fires in 2017, when tracking property ownership was difficult as each municipality had its own records and reference numbers for each property – leading to duplicate numbers and confusion on actual property ownership.

The Balcão Único do Prédio (BUPi), began as a platform allowing landowners (some of whom are without proper documentation – particularly in the case of generational inheritance) to update records and gather information themselves, using a unique property identification number: the Número de Identificação do Prédio (NIP). Originally rolled out to just 10 municipalities, the programme’s success sees it set to expand, nation-wide, with the cooperation of the Tax and Customs Authority and General Directorate of Territory.

BUPi will build a national registry of properties, allocating each an NIP, and bringing all relevant property information together under this single number. The NIP database will include information from the Land Registry, Tax Authority, georeferencing information, rental information, and more.

Registration is up to property owners, and is currently focused on Integrated Landscape Management Areas (Áreas Integradas de Gestão da Paisagem – AIGP) – areas with a higher fire risk, where common management of spaces is promoted. 141 municipalities (of a total of 153 municipalities with ‘rustic properties’) have joined the project, and about 44% of properties are currently registered. The goal is to have 90% of properties registered by 2023.

Secretary of State for Justice, Anabela Pedroso, said: “Being able to do, in the context of property, what was done with the citizen card in the context of civil identity will be, perhaps, the most important part of the work of identifying the owner and the location of each property.”

Find out more on how to register and join the programme on the BUPI website. (Actual registry in Portuguese only, information in English.)

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