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The Government is studying a new requirement for Local Lodging that would mandate higher condominium levies for owners who engage in holiday lets. If adopted, it would collide with another bill where the condominiums would be given the power to authorise, on a case-by-case basis, the possibility of owners renting short-term to tourists. The latter proposal was made in absentia and without the governmental consent.
Local Lodging accounted for 480,161 overnight stays in Madeira in 2016. The Regional Statistics Bureau (DREM) study confirms a growth of 53.3% in this parameter as compared with 2015. 93,067 guests accounted for these visits with stays averaging over five nights. Germans m made up 24.7% of “AL” overnights and were the largest national group.
The aggregate tourism turnover rose 17% last year to 3,075 million euros. The number of holiday makers jumped to 19 million, an increase of 10%. By geographical distribution, the greatest concentration of tourist beds continues to be the Algarve, with one-third of the total. Lisbon accounted for almost 20%.
The average cost of Local Lodging increased 4.6% in the centre of Lisbon and 0.3% in the historical neighbourhoods of Oporto in the first half of 2017 as compared to the previous six months period according to a recent study.
Over the past 12 months, Airbnb has removed 1,036 Barcelona-based local lodging units from its website. The measure was mandated by the city of Barcelona which considered that the units were being commercialised illegally. According to figures from the municipality, 15% of illegal lets are placed on Airbnb by tenants and not by the property owner.
The latest official statistics from the “INE” (Instituto Nacional de Estatísticas) may prove to be flawed since their records only take into account 1,831 official “AL” offerings. In contrast, the National Registry of Local Lodging (RNAL) tallies almost 50,000 enrolled “AL” establishments. Beyond these “aboveboard” businesses, there are still thousands of “underground” units in operation.
Over the past 12 months, the city of Barcelona has ordered the closure of 2,332 apartments operating illegally as local lodging establishments. Authorities also fined another 3,473 operators in amounts ranging from €3,000 to €60,000 as part of their “zero tolerance” policy.
In the first month of data-crossing via digital platforms, ASAE (Autoridade de Segurança Alimenta e Económica) examined 142 “AL” operators. Inspectors instituted 30 misconduct proceedings and suspended the activity of one establishment. Since July 2017, legislation requires Local Lodging operators to display their registration numbers in online advertising, facing fines of up to €32,500 for non-compliance.
Between May and July of this year, there were 8650 new official Local Lodging registrations (“AL”), representing twice the amount over the same period of 2016. The phenomenon is explained not by a large-scale entry of offerings into the holiday letting market, but rather by the legalisation of existing units.
Some local lodging operators have been detected listing fraudulent registration numbers over the internet. Since 01 July, online platforms are required to display this code when promoting an “AL” property. The absence of a license draws fines of €3,740.98 for individuals and €35,000 for companies. Fraud is punishable by imprisonment.