Councillor Almeida says her focus is on establishing balance in the city, without damaging trust. Photo: Armindo Ribeiro/ CML (Câmara Municipal de Lisboa)
Councillor Almeida says her focus is on establishing balance in the city, without damaging trust. Photo: Armindo Ribeiro/ CML (Câmara Municipal de Lisboa)

AL ban proposed in five Lisbon parishes – with more limitations to come

City Council plan could add at least another three parishes to list

Lisbon city councillor for urban planning Joana Almeida has proposed a ban on new AL (short-term rental accommodation) registrations in five of the city’s 24 parishes – Santa Maria Maior, Misericórdia, Santo António, São Vicente and Arroios.

The proposal suggests that AL bans should correspond to parishes that present a ratio “equal to or greater than 15%” of AL properties to the number of conventional family homes.

This would apply straight off to the parishes of Santa Maria Maior (where the ratio already stands at 71.3%), Misericórdia (47.4%), Santo António (26.7%), São Vicente (17.3%) and Arroios (15.2%).

But councillor Almeida (an independent elected by the “Novos Tempos” (New Times) PSD/CDS-PP/MPT/PPM/Aliança coalition) wants to go further.

Explains Lusa, she would like to see areas of relative contention in parishes or neighbourhoods of the with a ratio “equal to or greater than 5% and less than 15%”.

This would add the parishes of 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”.

None of this can happen overnight, though. Right now the proposal will have to go for public consultation “for a period of 30 working days”. This is expected to be decided by the municipal executive at a private meeting tomorrow, says 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 ‘extinguish’, ‘declare forfeit’ or ‘re-evaluate’ 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.

Source material: LUSA