The Municipal Complementary Law 260/23, published on May 23, establishes special conditions for licensing, legalization of constructions and additions in buildings in Rio de Janeiro upon payment of compensation to the city hall.

The new legislation allows, for example, the construction of a rooftop floor in buildings with three or more floors, upon payment of consideration for the area of this new floor, as well as horizontal extensions of the uncovered areas, such as balconies and roofs.

Buildings originally intended for lodging that were licensed for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and did not obtain the occupancy permit (Habite-se) within the established timeframe may also be legalized with the payment of compensation.

In addition, buildings licensed for these events that have obtained the specific building benefits for use as a hotel at the time of licensing may change their use to residential, hospital with or without inpatient care, outpatient clinic, and laboratory tests, or any other use permitted by the zoning regulations of the site.

It is important to note that the beginning of the works for the conversion of the building is conditioned to the full discharge of the compensation.

The amount of the fee will be defined based on a compensation report, which, depending on the location and characteristics of the project, will need to be approved by the competent municipal authorities.

The documentation to be submitted to the city hall must demonstrate compliance with the minimum safety, health, and habitability requirements , as well as lighting and ventilation conditions provided for in the applicable technical standards.

Those interested in taking advantage of these benefits have 180 days, extendable for another 90, from the publication of the law, to file the legalization request.

Many hotels were already considering the conversion of their buildings, mainly for residential use, due to an excess supply and a decrease in hotel demand in the city of Rio de Janeiro, influenced by the financial crisis. The new legislation comes as a stimulus to this transformation. With this move, the city hall hopes to increase its revenue, as well as generate jobs and new business opportunities.

At the moment in which changes in the Master Plan of the city of Rio de Janeiro are being discussed, there are many criticisms to the new legislation, especially in relation to the impact that the transformation of use could cause in noise and atmospheric pollution and in the local road system.

It is argued that this type of urbanistic change should be made in the Master Plan itself, which goes through a public hearing, to ensure greater reflection and discussion on the impacts of the  measures.

In any case, the new legislation is already in force and it is expected that the technical analysis to be conducted by the city hall on a case-by-case basis will be thorough, to meet the aspirations of different political and economic sectors and ensure the urban well-being of the city of Rio de Janeiro.