In the past six months, almost 2,000 “AL” enrolments have been wound up. Many owners have stopped letting but failed to cancel their registrations due to capital gains tax liabilities. In the first quarter of 2019, new “AL” sign-ups fell nationally by 40% and by 60% in Lisbon. These numbers are likely to be understated. In total, the capital currently counts with 18,000 Local Lodging Establishments. Nationwide, there are approximately 83,000. 2020 could prove to be a year of mass exodus.
The Lisbon Municipal Council has prepared regulations which delimit the “’containment areas” to Local Lodging according to the law that came out last year. To the five neighborhoods that have been suspended since October 2018 from new holiday lets registrations – Bairro Alto, Madragoa, Castelo, Alfama and Mouraria – will be added two more: Graça and Colina de Santana.
There are more than 80,000 Local Lodging Establishments in Portugal and only eight inspectors from “ASAE” (Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica) to oversee them. Lack of safety and health conditions are the most common problems. But the capacity to intervene is “very limited”.
The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that tourism in Portugal will expand by 5.3% in 2019, more than double the European average of 2.5%. Last year, the sector grew by 8.1%, contributing €38.4 billion to the Portuguese economy, a total of 19.1% of the country’s overall economic activity.
Over the past four decades, global warming has taken hold in Portugal according to statistics gathered by the Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera ‑ IPMA. Maximum temperatures have increased by 1.6ºc over the past 40 years and summer has stretched by 6 more weeks in the north and centre of the country, as defined by the number of days with temperatures above 25ºc. This trend has been less pronounced in the south. There has also been less rain leading to more frequent severe droughts.
There are new deadlines for the payment of the Municipal Property Tax (“IMI”). Instead of running between April and October as before, tax settlement will take place between May and November in 2019. “IMI” is paid in one go or in several instalments, depending on whether taxation is less or greater than €100. May is the month for single assessments when the tax due is under €100; or for the first instalment, in cases where the amount owed is greater. Second payments are in August when “IMI” exceeds €500. Finally, November is for final payments when taxation falls between €100 – €500 or third instalments if the levy is greater than €500.
Tourism brought nearly €14 billion to Lisbon in 2017, approximately 20% of the region’s total wealth. The sector is responsible for 182,000 jobs, as estimated in a report from Deloitte and the Lisbon Tourism Association.
Insurance providing civil liability coverage guaranteeing the property against damages caused by guests and third parties is required of all operators responsible for “AL” services. The minimum capital per claim is €75,000. Entities operating “AL” units that are part of a condominium must also have coverage guaranteeing property damage caused by fire in or from the “AL” unit. These insurances are mandatory for all Local Lodging establishments registered after 21 October 2018. Their absence is grounds for cancellation of “AL” registrations. Units registered before this date have up to two years to meet the requirements.
Last year, fewer British holidaymakers chose Portugal as a tourist destination, less 111,667 than in 2017. Despite the drop, the overall number of foreign tourists grew by 0.4% last year, enough to reach a new record high at 12.76 million. This increase was mostly due to a 20% jump in American tourism, accounting for an additional 135,000 US visitors in 2018.
If you are a Local Lodging operator, you can deduct online platform commissions from your “AL” income. Keep in mind that this deduction is only applicable if you opt for the taxation rules of Category F (rent), not under Category B (sole trader).