Holiday rentals targeted by ASAE this summer

By INÊS LOPES [email protected]

One-third of holiday lets falling under the ‘local lodging’ (alojamento local) regime are operating illegally and fail to comply with the minimum standards of hygiene and safety required by law, said ASAE, the official body responsible for inspecting these accommodation units.

As reported exclusively by the Algarve Resident in March this year, ASAE announced that it would be taking serious action against illegal holiday lets, with heavy fines for those who fail to comply with the law.

Several inspection actions have already taken place in Portugal, with the Algarve being the main target as the region’s thousands of holiday homes are in high demand at this time of the year.

The aim is to clamp down on privately owned apartments and villas that are being let out for holiday purposes without being licensed under the Alojamento Local (Local Lodging) regime.

Last year, a total of 103 inspections took place, with 35 infractions detected. So far this year, 78 holiday accommodation units have been inspected and 26 infractions recorded, meaning that one-third of these rentals are illegal.

But ASAE has warned: “We are only half-way through the summer” and more inspections are expected to take place before the end of the season.

Among the problems detected by ASAE inspectors is the lack of licensing to operate as an ‘alojamento local’ holiday rental unit and the non-compliance with the minimum hygiene and safety standards.

In March, ASAE told the Algarve Resident that inspections of these establishments are both “reactive” and “proactive”, meaning that they can either be carried out according to an annual programme of actions or as a result of investigations, denunciations and complaints.

As per Decree-Law nº39/2008 of March 7, it is mandatory to obtain a licence to rent a private property – villa, apartment and lodging establishment – on a temporary basis and be considered an ‘Alojamento Local’ unit. Municipal authorities are responsible for licensing ‘alojamento local’ establishments.

A list of requirements is stipulated by the law, which these establishments must comply with. “If infraction cases are detected following inspection, ASAE will act in conformity with the law, by opening an investigation procedure against the offender, followed by juridical action,” said the authority.