The opportunity for regularization of buildings granted by the São Paulo City Government, through Law No. 17,202/19, should benefit more than 750,000 irregular properties in the state capital. The Amnesty Law, as it is popularly known, meets the provisions of the Strategic Master Plan of the Municipality of São Paulo and establishes the subordination of regularization of buildings, when necessary, to the execution of works.

Promulgated by Mayor Bruno Covas last October 16, the new law aims to regularize buildings built before the enactment of the 2014 Strategic Master Plan and, to that end, establishes three distinct procedures.

One of them is the automatic procedure, in which the owner needs not perform any act or take any action to ensure regularization. This procedure only includes low and medium grade properties, which were exempt from the payment of the Urban Property Tax (IPTU) in 2014 (occupied by retirees and pensioners with income below three minimum wages, under the terms of Municipal Law No. 15,889/13).

The second procedure is the regularization by declaration of the owner. This category includes properties up to 1,500m² and up to 10 meters high, for residential use, multifamily properties (up to 20 units), Social Interest Housing (HIS), and Popular Market Housing (HMP), but they must still meet other requirements of the law. The interested party may file the request for regularization on a website created by the City Government and present simplified technical documents, signed by the person responsible for the building, as well as documents relating to the property itself and the construction.

To perform this procedure, one must pay a fee of R$ 10.00 per square meter regularized. HIS and HMP developments are exempt from this payment.

For buildings that do not fit into any of the above scenarios, the Amnesty Law creates the possibility of regularization through a common procedure, by presenting the same list of documents required for the declaration procedure. The fee charged for this procedure will also be R$ 10.00 per square meter regularized. In practice, therefore, the legislation does not differentiate much between the declaratory and common procedures.

Moreover, depending on the constructive potential stipulated by municipal zoning (relationship between the size of the built area and that of the land area), it might be necessary to pay for an authorization to ensure regularization. That is, the city government stipulates the maximum constructive potential for the buildings in each zoning, allowing payment of remuneration for construction above this limit, the so-called paid authorization. However, there is a limit for the acquisition of additional constructive potential. If the building is above the maximum limit (already considering the paid authorization), it cannot be regularized. The paid authorization will be calculated in accordance with the Amnesty Law, and payment thereof may be made within up to 12 fixed monthly installments.

Other cases not covered by the new law: (i) works completed after July 31, 2014; (ii) works built on areas of dams, lakes, streams, and electric transmission lines; (iii) works carried out on public municipal land, including state or federal grounds; (iv) constructions that have been subject to an Integrated Operation or Urban Consortium Operation; (v) areas affected by a road improvement provided for in municipal laws; and (vi) areas that do not fit within the city government’s subdivision restrictions.

It is worth mentioning the levying of Tax on Services of Any Nature (ISS) in the regularization of buildings. Payment of the tax is one of the requirements of the law.

The Amnesty Law also provides for the issuance of a regulatory decree to clarify specific issues. The decree must be promulgated by the Executive Power within 60 days from the publication of the legislation, that is, by December 17 of this year.

Only after the enactment of the regulatory decree and the entry into force of the law, scheduled for January 1, 2020, will the amnesty program be open for interested parties to join and submit their applications, where appropriate, to the city government. The initial period for issuing the decree is 90 days and may be extended three times for the same period of 90 days.

With the regularization of a building, it will be possible to issue a completion report, a requirement for the construction to be recorded in the registration of the property with the competent Real Estate Registry Office. This is also a requirement for obtaining the an operating license and inspection report from the Fire Department for functional buildings.

More information may be found on the website of São Paulo’s city government: