Lisbon to restrict AL in five more neighbourhoods

 In Local Accommodation, News

Text: Natasha Donn – Portugal Resident/Lusa

Lisbon City Council is to extend its restrictions on Local Accommodation licences to five additional ‘bairros’ or neighbourhoods in the city.

The restrictions introduced by the council’s Department of Urban Planning will soon apply to the parishes of Santa Maria Maior (which currently has a percentage ratio of AL properties to normal family homes of 71%), Misericórdia (47.4%), Santo António (26.7%), São Vicente (17.3%) and Arroios (15.2%).

The ban will affect new applications for licenses to run short-term holiday lets or Local Accommodation as it is called in Portugal.

The proposal suggests that AL restrictions should correspond to neighbourhoods that have a ratio “equal to or greater than 15% of AL properties to the number of conventional family homes.

According to Lusa, the Council officer behind the new restrictions Cllr. Joana Almeida would like to see the measures in contentious neighbourhoods go even further to a ratio of “equal to or greater than 5% and less than 15%”.

This would add the neighbourhoods Estrela (11.6%), Avenidas Novas (7.1%) and Alcântara (5.4%), plus 19 neighbourhoods: “namely six in the parish of Belém, three in Parque das Nações, two in Ajuda, two in Campo de Ourique, two in Penha de França, one in Beato, one in Marvila, one in Olivais and one in Alvalade”.
The measures would not happen immediately. The proposal will first have to go for public consultation “for a period of 30 working days”. This was expected to be decided by the municipal executive at a private meeting today (Friday, 19 April), states Lusa.

“At a time of great sensitivity for the short-term rental accommodation market, we want to bring more stability to an activity that is essential to the income of many families and is very important for the economic dynamics of Lisbon,” says Councillor Almeida, in a written statement sent to Lusa news agency.

Joana Almeida stresses the importance of adjusting rules to the city’s current reality “despite the fact that the government has chosen not to listen to the municipalities in the preparation of the More Housing package, which has a significant impact on  short-term rental accommodation”.

“We want to regulate AL in a logic of balance. We don’t want exclusively tourist neighbourhoods. We want balance, we want diversity. We want life in neighbourhoods and we want quality of life in neighbourhoods. Our proposal for revision of the Municipal Regulation for short-term rental lodging follows this principle”.

Joana Almeida further defends the creation of housing solutions for families “without looking at short-term rental accommodation as a scapegoat”, considering that it is necessary to have confidence and stability in the sector, valuing the role of economic agents and avoiding disruptive measures that damage trust between parties.

“We do not want the suspension of new licenses in all urban areas, which in the case of Lisbon would apply to the entire city regardless of the weight of short-term rental accommodation in each parish or neighbourhood.

“We don’t want the arbitrary application of the concepts of ‘extinguishing’, ‘declaring forfeit’ or ‘re-evaluating’ licences.

“We do not want the creation of disproportionate tax penalties for the activity of the local authority”, she added.

Among the government’s increasingly revised panoply of measures proposed for residential property are the suspension of new AL licenses for apartments and AL establishments which are part of an autonomous part of a building; the re-evaluation of current licenses in 2030, with new licenses becoming valid for only five years, the creation of a revocation regime for inactive licenses and a new tax regime, which provides for an extraordinary contribution of 20%, or a tax exemption if the property is transferred to the long-term rental housing market.


Photo: CML – Armindo Ribeiro