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The distraction of holidaymakers and the lack of security at some “AL” flats have led to a rise in thefts at Local Lodging establishments, mainly those located in the “Baixa” district of downtown Lisbon. In response, law enforcement (“PSP”) has started a prevention program with the owners called “Blue Lock”.
The water regulator advocates that establishments used for local housing should pay for water as “non-household” users. The increase is already in place in several councils. However, there are other centres, such as Lisbon, where the municipality has reimbursed the extra charge.
Staying in a hotel or local lodging accommodation in Lisbon became more expensive as of the first of the year due to the increase in the Municipal Tourist Tax from one to two Euros. The local municipality estimates additional revenues from the measure of ±_35 million in 2019.
An increasing number of accommodations under Local Lodging (“AL”) are in the hands of third-party administration. In Lisbon and Porto, only 4 out of every 10 units registered in this tourist activity are handled directly by the owner.
Despite positive evolution in recent years, Lisbon still has many buildings that are either abandoned, poorly maintained or even in ruins. According to data from the Lisbon Chamber of Commerce in 2018, there are 2,626 buildings in the city declared totally or partially vacant and 7,230 in poor condition, concentrated in the city’s historic neighbourhoods. Experts speak of the need for €4 billion in urgent rehabilitation works in the capital and over €24 billion nationwide.
The average cost of Local Lodging in Porto approached the values registered in Lisbon – approximately €100 euros per night – according to recent data calculated and released by Confidencial Imobiliário. In 2017, there was a 30% gap between the 2 cities. According to the index, the highest average daily rate was recorded in Lisbon in the Chiado-Bairro Alto district (€138).
Lisbon will increase the Municipal Tourist Tax in 2019, from one to two euros per night, to strengthen urban cleaning and transportation in neighbourhoods with more pressure from tourism. Initially approved in 2014, the Municipal Tourist Tax began to be applied in January 2016 on the overnight stays in the hotel units or local accommodation, then set at one euro per night up to a maximum of seven euros.
Since the approval of the legislation amending the rules for Local Lodging, 836 new units have been opened in Lisbon and 297 in Porto. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already signed the bill which should be published soon, coming into force 60 days after.
Airbnb, the internet Local Lodging reservation platform, collected and delivered €2,600,000 in Municipal Tourist Tax during the first six months of the year, reaching a grand total of €8,100,000 raised on behalf of the Lisbon Council since the tax began in January of 2016. In 2017, the aggregate holiday let levy revenues came to €18,500,00 taken in by the country’s capital city.
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.