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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.
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.
ASAE inspectors are now searching ads of existing listings on online platforms such as Booking.com, Airbnb or Home Away to verify their Local Lodging registrations. As of 01 July, those advertising holiday lets on online platforms are required to display their “AL” registration licence number. It is currently estimated that approximately 20% of offerings are illegal. Failure to comply can lead to heavy fines for internet platforms and unlisted local lodging operators.
Beginning 01 July 2017, any website advertising local accommodations in Portugal must display the corresponding AL registration number. Failure to do so will lead to fines from a minimum of €125 to maximum of €32,500 as mandated in Decree-law nº80/2017.
According to the Hotel Association of Portugal, in November of last year, 25 operators had multiple “AL” registrations: between 51 and 300. Of these, seven were running more than a hundred properties as “Local Lodging establishments,” up to a maximum of three hundred. While the majority of owners let just one or two properties, current “AL” legislation fails to distinguish between those operating on a peer-to-peer basis and those running full-blown “horizontal” hotels.
In almost two-thirds of cases, Local Lodging (“Alojamento Local”) is the main economic activity for Lisbon homeowners who choose to let holiday accommodations to tourists. This is one of the conclusions of the study on “AL” offerings in the Portuguese capital that was developed by the Higher Institute of Labour and Business Sciences (ISCTE). According to the same study, almost 86% of “AL” offerings are in apartments.
On the weekend, a notice appeared in the national media that the Government may plan to increase the taxation on the AL sector in the 2017 budget.
This information is probably a test balloon to gauge public opinion on this matter.
There has already been strong opposition by some industry members, and NALLE will be voicing its opposition any such move with the Authorities.
For the moment, any news in this regard should be taken with calm. Nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked!
The Government is tying up some loose ends: Home owners who rent out their property to tourists, have to prove to the City Hall until December 28, 2014 that they registered their activity with the Tax Office, otherwise they risk losing the Local Lodging License (Alojamento Local). This way, the state wants to make sure it receives taxes from all businesses. Talk to us today, we'll assist you and make sure things are ok!