AL Licence explained

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AL- Holiday Rental Licence procedure explained by afpop

With the kind permission of afpop, the below information about Alojamento Local - short-term accommodation for tourists - normally is available only to afpop Members but is reproduced to show non-members the type of detailed information that is available.

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Holiday Rental Licence - 2018

Smaller holiday rental properties such as villas, apartments, rooms and guest houses, are classed as ‘Local Lodging’, or ‘Alojamento local’, under the new legislation governing Tourist Rental properties. The law has undergone some changes with the publication of the Law nº62 from 22nd August 2018.

The maximum capacity for a local lodging unit is of 9 rooms and 30 people except for hostels that have no capacity limit. Each owner, or representative, may rent only 7 apartment units per building, if this does not exceed 75% of the totality of apartments in the building.

Local lodging properties may be classed in one of these four categories:

  1. House = Villa, town house, family house

  2. Apartment = Self-sufficient partition of a building

  3. Guest house or Hostel = Property where the rooms are the units to be let

  4. Room = maximum of three “units” in the property

Local lodging properties must fulfil the following requirements:

  1. To be a well preserved buildings (interior and exterior).

  2. To be connected to the water mains or alternatively have a private, correctly licensed, water supply system.

  3. To be connected to the main sewage system or have a septic tank, large enough for the maximum capacity of the lodging.

  4. To have running water supply, both cold and hot.

The lodging units must:

  1. Have a window or balcony facing the exterior, with good ventilation conditions.

  2. Be furnished and equipped accordingly.

  3. Have any kind of system to allow blocking the light from outside.

  4. Have security equipment on the doors that allows the client’s privacy.

  5. Fire extinguisher

  6. Fire blanket

  7. First aid box

The lodging units must have a minimum of 1 sanitary facility for every 3 rooms, with washing basin, toilet and bath or shower. All sanitary facilities must have security equipment that allows the client’s privacy. The people renting the properties, whether they are the owners renting directly or a rental company, must provide to their clients information on the regulations in the rented property such as the use of swimming pools, lifts, common areas, reception working hours, services provided, etc.

The registration In order to start a business renting your property, you must first of all, inform Finanças that you are indeed starting a business. You can do this by registering as a sole trader, or through a company. Please note that if you are not a resident here you will need to have a fiscal representative, although the requirement to have a fiscal representative was abolished (for EU citizens) it is still necessary if you have any income in Portugal.

The registration of rental properties at the local Câmara, is done at your local Camara’s “Balcão Único”, for which you should bring the following documents:

  1. A document proving the legitimacy of the person requesting, i.e. owner, representative of the owner, Management Company.

  2. A certificate of compliance issued by the owner, stating that the electricity and gas and water heater installations are according to the law in force.

  3. Certificate of Início de Actividade. This is a document, proving that you are registered, with Finanças, for business.

  4. Property rates document “Caderneta predial urbana”.

The requirement, stamped by the local Câmara is a valid document to open to public. Within 60 days after presenting the request, the local Câmara will do an inspection to make sure that all the requirements are met. In case any of the requirements are not met, the registration is cancelled and the applicant must return the stamped requirement in their possession.


The capacity of the rental properties is determined by the number of fixed beds (individual or double) to rent in the property. There can also be folding beds (extra) as long as these do not exceed the number of fixed beds.

Hygiene requirements

The properties for local lodging must always meet good standards of tidiness and hygiene. Cleaning and maintenance, as well as changing bed linen and towels, must be done at least once a week and every time there is a change of client.

Safety requirements

The local lodging properties must comply with the general fire safety regulations and the following requirements:

  1. Accessible fire extinguishers and fire blankets in an amount adequate to the number of lodging units.

  2. First aid equipment to EU standard (Carrying the ‘CE’ symbol)

  3. Instruction Manuals of all electric appliances existing in the units, in the absence of this, information about the use and functioning of these appliances must be provided.

  4. Visible information of the national emergency number (112).

Fire safety requirements vary depending on the kind of property concerned; however there is a minimum standard as required by the Bombeiros, which is one fire blanket in the kitchen by the oven and one large fire extinguisher or two medium ones in each floor of a property to rent. The fire brigade also advises that in a guesthouse or small Bed and Breakfast establishment, that there should be a smaller fire extinguisher in each room. Those properties with the capacity for more than 50 people must have, besides the requirements above, a fire safety system according to a project drawn and presented with the requirement and a mobile or fixed telephone with an external line. Some city hall offices (Câmaras) may also request a “Ficha de Segurança Incêncio” (fire safety certificate).


The publicity, commercial documentation and merchandising of the rental property, must show the name of the place followed by the “Alojamento local” registration number.

Identification plate

The rental properties may have outside the property and near the main entrance, an informative board provided by the local Câmara. This board will be transparent and sized 20cm long by 20cm tall. This is mandatory. As any place open to the public these properties for rent are also required to have a complaints book (Livro de Reclamações).

Information Book

The owners must provide a document with all the rules of use of the building, as well as with all the rules concerning “waste disposal and noise levels”. Where there is a written regulation of the condominium this must also be included and given to the guests. The document must also have the telephone contact of the person in charge of the operation of the establishment and be made available in Portuguese, English and “in at least two other foreign languages”.

Insurance Local housing owners will be required to have a multi-risk insurance for damage that may be done in the common areas of a condominium, potentially being held liable for any damage caused by a guest.


Parliament approved the increase in fines imposed on owners of Alojamento Local accommodation who operate illegally, in particular in cases where the accommodation is unregistered or who fail to comply with the obligation to update all data in the Balcão Único Eletrónico and any breach of the maximum capacity of the establishments. The penalties will be punished with fines ranging from €2,500 to €4,000 for individuals and €25,000 to €40,000 for companies.

End of activity

The owner of the Alojamento Local accommodation is also obliged to communicate, within 10 days, the cessation of the operation of the establishment through the Balcão Único Eletrónico. The same deadline should be met for the reporting of closure to digital booking platforms such as Airbnb and

Limited containment areas

City hall offices may impose limits on the number of establishments offered in certain geographical areas, in order to “preserve the social reality of neighborhoods and places”. In addition, in these areas the same owner can only operate a maximum of seven local accommodation establishments.

Enhanced enforcement

ASAE (Food and Economic Security Authority) and the municipal councils are responsible for supervising compliance with the provisions of this law, as well as announcing their respective processes and applying the respective fines and other sanctions.


Local landlords will still have to make only a prior notification for the registration of new establishments in order to commence trading, but the local authorities may now oppose them on economic grounds and prevent the opening of new AL premises.

Prior authorization for hostels

As with the Municipal Councils, condominiums also see their authority extended. Under the new law the operation of new AL units becomes dependent on their prior authorisation by the condominium. (At the time of printing there is no information about the process of application to condominiums for AL approval).

Complaints may close accommodation, “Where the Alojamento Local accommodation is in an autonomous fraction of a building, the assembly of condominium owners, by decision of more than half of the owners of the building in a reasoned decision, resulting from repeated and proven practice that disturb the normal use of the building, as well as causing discomfort and affecting the rest of the condominium owners, may oppose the exercising of the AL activity of the offending fraction, giving, for this purpose, knowledge of its decision to the president of the relevant Municipal Council.”

Contributions to the condominium

Condominiums will be able to fix the payment of an additional contribution by the owners of local accommodation units, “corresponding to the expenses arising from the increased use of the common parts, with a limit of 30% of the annual value of the respective quota."

Registration of clients

SEF, the police department for emigration and frontiers, will want to know if any foreign tourists are staying in Portugal, as well as the hotels, all local lodging owners must register their foreign clients with SEF, their arrival and their departure. All none Portuguese clients must be registered with SEF, online, within 3 days after they arrive and 3 days after they leave.

This log of clients must be done online on a website specifically created for this You need to register your property first off all and get a log in and password, this way you have access to the lodging bulletins online at any time. This site is only available in Portuguese.

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