Alojamento Local – changes to the law
The new Alojamento Local (AL) Law 62/2018, which entered into force in October 21, 2018, brought many changes to the legal regime for short-term holiday rentals. Here are the most significant:
■ New types of local lodging
The new law now defines what is a “hostel” as an AL establishment and adds a new type of AL unit – “rooms”, which means someone can rent out rooms in their residence for short-term holiday lets.
■ The enforcement powers of the condominium
In buildings where there are residents living permanently, AL rentals will be subjected to authorisation by the condominium, which can even vote against AL units if it feels they will disturb the normal functioning of the building or cause discomfort to residents. It can also demand the payment of an additional fee for the use of communal areas in the building.
■ Registration of Alojamento Local establishments
To register an AL establishment, it is necessary to send an electronic communication to the City Council. Within 10 days (in the case of hostels 20 days), the registration will be accepted or not. This registration is made exclusively through the electronic one-stop-shop (www.portaldocidadao.pt).
In buildings where there are permanent residents, the registration of new hostels must include a document from the condominium’s assembly authorising the AL business.
■ The enforcement powers of City Councils
The City Council can conduct an inspection of the Alojamento Local establishment within 30 days after registration, and even cancel the registration if it finds anything going against the information or documentation provided or if it violates the areas designated for AL established by the City Council.
■ Containment areas
To protect the social reality of certain neighbourhoods and places, the City Council can impose limits to the number of AL establishments in certain areas, called “áreas de contenção”.
The Lisbon City Council doesn’t allow for the period of six months AL establishments in Alfama, Mouraria, Castelo, Madragoa and Bairro Alto neighbourhoods, until permanent regulation about this matter is approved.
■ Multi-risk insurance
The owner of the AL establishment must hold multi-risk insurance to cover any damage caused by the increased use of the communal parts in the building.
■ Information book
AL establishments are obligated to have an Information Book about the functioning of the establishment, available in Portuguese and English, and in at least two other foreign languages. It must also contain the practices and rules of the condominium and the telephone number of the person in charge of the establishment.
■ Identification plaque
The Alojamento Local establishments must have an AL identification plaque on the outside wall of the building, next to the entrance. The plaque’s material, measurement and colours must comply with the law.
By Dr Eduardo Serra Jorge
Dr Eduardo Serra Jorge is founding member, senior partner and CEO of lawyers firm Eduardo Serra Jorge & Maria José Garcia – Sociedade de Advogados, R.L., created in 1987.
In his column, he addresses legal issues affecting foreign residents in Portugal.
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