Tough new law on local accommodation passed

 In News

Tough new laws governing the conversion of inner city Lisbon properties into Bed & Breakfast accommodation have been passed in the Portuguese parliament.

Proposed by the country’s left-wing parties in Parliament, it means that within 60 days certain historic and traditional Lisbon neighbourhoods, some of which have seen their original populations displaced (by up to 35%) by overseas tourists in B&B and foreigners living in short-let rental accommodation, will have caps on the number of licenses now issued to landlords.

The new laws will be policed by Lisbon City Council and its Parish Councils in conjunction with housing, residents and tenants associations who now have the power to regulate and restrict the number of properties that can qualify for and be converted into guest house accommodation.

The decision to pass the law was somewhat ironic when it was discovered this week that the Mayor of Lisbon’s official residence — it has not been occupied by an incumbent mayor since 2008 –  has been rented out for local accommodation for over €1,117 per night.

On 22 October it was revealed by the Lusa news agency that the Mayor’s Palace is now available for rent on a local tourism holiday lets booking site and within hours the des-res was booked at €1,117 per night for the New Year.

Under these new local accommodation laws, town and city councils will be able to set up “containment zones” which effectively allow these councils to limit the number of licenses issued in each neighbourhood.

In each neighbourhood a property owner will not be able to hold more than seven such local accommodation licenses.

Around 60,000 properties currently hold local accommodation licenses, most of them in Lisbon, Porto and in the Algarve in places popular with tourists such as Albufeira.