Photo; Câmara Municipal de Olhão

More than half country’s AL holiday lettings risk ‘being cancelled’

Owners failed to provide ‘proof of activity’ in time

More than a third of Alojamento Local holiday lettings businesses have failed to register “proof of activity” in the timeline provided and risk cancellation, writes Público today.

“Of the almost 118,000 AL businesses existing in the country, only around 75,000 submitted declarations on time”. 

Failure to comply with this requirement could lead to the registrations becoming null and void, the paper explains. This was always the ‘danger’, publicised in advance if not ‘well in advance’.

The new requirement, brought in under the controversial Mais Habitação legislation, began ‘badly’: in that it was announced, without the requisite form for compliance being provided online.

When the form was available to owners, the deadline to submit proof of activity was only two months away. Then the website crashed – driving many people to complete distraction, before the deadline was extended by a further week.

But that is only ‘part of the problem’.

According to Público, more than a third of AL units remain unregistered nationwide, “a proportion that reaches significantly higher levels in some municipalities, particularly Lisbon where more than 40% of accommodation units remained unregistered”.

Responsibility for rendering businesses ‘cancelled’ lies with borough mayors (this at least gives owners someone ‘local’ they can talk to, if they live in Portugal that is).

Nonetheless, according to data released earlier this week (December 13) by the ministry of the economy and sea, there are still 117, 941 AL concerns in which activity has not been ‘proved’. Of this total, 74,972 valid tax declarations have been submitted, “and it will now be up to the municipalities with territorial jurisdiction to deal with the matter,” says the statement from the government.

This means that, in total, around 36% of income that should have been submitted in order for AL units to continue operating “ended up not being submitted at national level”, Público points out.

“Looking at the data broken down by municipality, there are several where the proportion of owners who failed to provide proof of activity is more significant, starting with Lisbon, the municipality with the highest number of local accommodation registrations.

“As of two days ago, the national AL register counted 19,917 registrations in Lisbon, 226 of which concerned units in owner-occupied housing and with operations of less than 120 days a year. Of the 19,691 accommodations whose owners had to submit proof of activity, only 11,447 valid tax declarations were submitted, meaning that almost 42% remained unregistered.

“The same happened in the municipality of Cascais, where almost half the owners of the 2,562 ALs that had to provide proof of activity failed to do so.

In the Algarve, too, there is a similar trend in certain municipalities. This is the case in Portimão, where more than 40% of AL units where activity had to be proved were not registered, and in Loulé, where this proportion is over 38%.

In Porto, on the other hand, the trend is the opposite and the proportion of unregistered dwellings is significantly lower. In Porto municipality, the second nationally with the highest number of AL registrations, there were 10,449 units, of which 10,307 had to have their activity verified. A total of 8581 valid contribution declarations were submitted on time, meaning that only around 17% failed to provide proof of activity.

The bottom line of this reality is that the government’s law regulating AL has left an enormous headache for local authorities/ local mayors. ND

Source: Público