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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.
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.