Land clearing laws in Portugal: The guide for homeowners!

In Portugal, the devastating impact of forest fires has put land clearing practices centre stage. As an investor or land owner, understanding and complying with the legal requirements for land management is not just a responsibility - it's a necessity in order to protect your property investment from natural disasters.

Why clear land?

Land clearing, a legal duty for all land owners, is vital for reducing the risk of forest fires. By removing flammable materials, such as bushes and undergrowth, you significantly reduce the chances of fires starting or spreading. This practice is especially important given Portugal's susceptibility to forest fires, which is exacerbated by climatic factors.


Legal requirements and deadlines:

Portuguese law requires all landowners to clear their land by 30 April each year. Failure to meet this deadline can result in significant fines - up to €5,000 for individuals and €25,000 for legal entities. Compliance guarantees not only legal security, but also the physical security of your investment.

Local authorities play a key role in enforcing the law. They have the authority to clear land if owners do not comply with the law, billing the owner for all costs. In addition, access to the land must be granted for these operations, and police measures can be applied to ensure compliance.


Monitoring and enforcement:

The government actively monitors compliance with the law, focussing above all on high-risk areas. Initial inspections usually take place in May, targeting properties in rural areas or near urban perimeters. A second phase, in June, focuses on land close to critical infrastructure, such as roads and utility lines.


The benefits of compliance:

As well as avoiding fines, compliance with land clearance laws supports the preservation of property values and protects investments. Well-maintained land not only reduces the risk of fire, but also increases the property's aesthetic and ecological value, appealing to potential investors and buyers.


Steps for effective land clearance:

Land clearing involves more than cutting grass. It includes pruning trees, managing undergrowth and removing vegetation near buildings and critical infrastructure. Always ensure the safe disposal of debris and take ecological impacts into account, especially when it comes to protected species such as holm oaks and cork oaks.


Urban exemptions and considerations:

Although most rural and forest land is subject to these laws, gardens and active agricultural land may be exempt. Adjacent urban forest areas, however, must comply with the established deadlines.



Proactive land management not only fulfils legal obligations, but also plays a crucial role in protecting your property investments in Portugal. Stay informed about local regulations, maintain your property diligently and contribute to the wider effort to prevent forest fires.

Keep up to date with property management tips and investment opportunities by following us on our blog and social media.

Share this Article


Recent Articles


Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay up to date.

What can we do to help?
What can we do to help?