Time’s (about to be) up for illegal holiday rentals’ online free-for-all

It’s news coming out of Thursday meeting of the Council of Ministers: “very soon” sites like Airbnb will be only be allowed to carry properties registered on the government’s official tourism site (click here).

Talking to Jornal de Negócios yesterday, secretary of state for tourism Ana Mendes Godinho said the move is designed to “guarantee rules of legal competition”.

Already approved by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the rule will be in place for this year’s ‘high season’, starting on July 1.

The reason for the few weeks’ ‘delay’ is to allow for “a period of adaptation”, which Público describes as either meaning unlicensed owners can go ahead and register their properties, or they have time to remove them from online rental sites.

In the case of Airbnb, Público stresses that world famous property-share platform already asks owners for their licence numbers/ registration of their properties – though none are excluded in the event on non-compliance.

Público adds that there are “almost 40,000 properties inscribed on the official Alojamento Local register”.

There are believed to be many tens of thousands more – guestimates suggest up to 120,000 – in operation, until July 1, that is, when the perennial ‘tax dodge game’ moves to a new level.

Another new measure coming out of Thursday’s Council of Ministers was the return to the obligatory star-classification of hotels, dropped in 2015 – a decision which the economy ministry claims caused “lots of confusion and controversy”.

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