So says a new petition that claims proposals to alter Alojamento Local legislation will hammer the country, transforming holiday villages and complexes – particularly those in the Algarve – into out-of-season ghost-towns creating a domino-effect that will decimate hundreds of thousands of lives.
“This proposal goes way beyond limiting property owners to just 90 days of business a year”, lawyer Alexandra Soares told the Resident.
“For the Algarve, it strikes at our only industry: tourism.
“If approved, it will affect the lives and livelihoods of everyone from cleaners and gardeners to estate agents, accountants, lawyers even. It will also prohibit non-residents from taking part in the regime.
“Of course, we can all say: ‘These proposals can never be adopted’ – but that would be hiding our heads in the sand”, she added.
“They come from the government’s ‘allies’ (Bloco de Esquerda), so there is always the chance that they could be adopted – and if they aren’t this time, then there is the risk that new proposals along similar lines could come further down the line.
“How can I seriously as a lawyer advise clients who may be considering investing in property in order to rent it out to holidaymakers? Do I say: “Oh well, there is this proposed law that parliament is expected to discuss that will limit the amount of time you can operate, but let’s not worry about it. It will never happen”?
“Of course I can’t. This is an issue for social alarm. If we do not put our position as citizens, we will be leaving ourselves open to becoming the victims of stupid decisions.
“I have analysed this proposal and all it can bring to the Algarve is negative.
“Everyone I know, all my friends, business associates, we all survive through tourism – and this Projeto-Lei seeks to ruin the economy of the Algarve”.
Soares has elaborated the Portuguese text for the petition which is already online and gathering signatures.
As soon as an English text is available, it will be uploaded alongside the original.
Meantime, Soares is trying to find out when exactly the parliamentary debate on this proposal has been scheduled.
The irony is that BE’s plans have been welcomed by many in Lisbon where the Alojamento Local regime has been blamed for driving up the cost of house and apartment rentals, as well as affecting property prices in general (click here).
Locals complain that AL is changing the face of Lisbon society.
But in other areas, particularly the Algarve where winter tourism is a growing staple, there is no talk of ‘AL ghettoes’. BE’s proposals risk being viewed as the proverbial ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’.
As the petition warns, “the alterations are an attack on the economy of the country” and so far very few people or associations have spoken out.
Due to be delivered to parliament as soon as it has the requisite number of signatures : Contra As Alteraçãoes do Alojamento Local (Against alterations to the Alojamento Local regime) can be acessed here: (click here).