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Upcoming legislation, designed to regulate Local Lodging, is likely to include measures intended to counteract the “Disneyfication” of historic city centres. According to the current Socialist Party proposals, the imposition of quotas on a selective basis is “an admissible model” that should give a “relevant role to municipalities”. Since 2012, “AL” registrations have skyrocketed nationally from 7,533 to 58,252, a more than 7-fold jump. The increase in Lisbon during this period has been over 400%, primarily in the historic neighbourhoods.
More than four out of ten enterprises follow the trend of leisure tourists and choose Local Lodging for company travel, as revealed in a recent study by the Travelstore American Express. The survey shows that businesses are increasingly confident and express willingness to invest more in travel to Portugal over the course of 2018.
Representatives from eight cities protested against the rules applicable to holiday letting platforms, advocating more transparent regulation. The municipalities of the cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Paris, Krakow, Vienna, Reykjavik and Amsterdam subscribed to the declaration sent to the EU Commission. City officials stated that online tourist letting platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com should be obliged to share data with regulators. Currently, these internet booking services permit the anonymity of listing owners of properties as well as of the holidaymakers who let them, exacerbating pressures that the recent invasion of mass tourism places on the infrastructure of these municipalities.
The Socialist Party (“PS”) concedes dropping the controversial measure that would give condominium assemblies the power to veto the use of apartments for Local Lodging. On the table is an alternative solution that would safeguard the interests of all parties and minimize impact on the economy: revoking Local Lodging permits if there are “repeated and consistent” complaints of excessive noise or other behaviour that jeopardise the rights of other occupants.
Prices for Local Lodging (“AL”) rose in the historic centres of Lisbon and Oporto during the first half of 2016 according to the “Confidencial Imobiliário Index”. The average cost of “AL” accommodations increased by 4.6% in the historic districts of Lisbon and 0.3% in the centre of Porto.
Like any tourist offering in Portugal, AL operators are required to pay a small royalty fee when supplying television, radio or an internet connection in their villa or apartment. However, for non-hotel establishments with less than ten rooms, the cost is just €12 per annum.
GEDIPE is the abbreviation for the national agency for authors’ rights. The Association also covers television distribution and audio transmissions. Registration is available at:
https://www.gedipe.org/website/gedipe/contact.html (choice of language at the bottom of the page).
AL Business owners may now find higher water bills in their mail boxes. Once local councils find out that a property is engaged in local lodging, they can reclassify the business, instead of “domestic” or “comercial” as “diversos”. In this case, the water costs more than for a private residential property. One consideration which may justify the increase is the fact that AL creates more rubbish and waste water, and as a result, the City Hall has to increase these basic services.
The State Budget has been passed and there are no major changes to the AL system: no limitations in number of days per year, and no tax increases are coming our way. The exception hits the entrepreneur who earns more than 27.300€ per year with Local Lodging (or as a Sole Trader in other areas); these businesses will have to prove 15% of their costs by presenting the respective invoices to arrive at the 65% exemption.
Tax receipts from Local Lodging (“AL”) grew from €69,000,000 to €123,000,000 between 2015 and 2017, as revealed by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho. “AL” license registrations also increased almost twofold from 28,000 to over 50,000 over the same period.