Newsletter March 2006 - 1

Insights into what is involved in buying, selling & living in Portugal

Dear client,

As promised I will try to keep you up-dated on the situation on the rental issue. We have several indications that the authorities are taken our fight seriously.

In a previous letter I indicated that the authorities promised us that in the first half of March we could expect some info from them.

Please find below info from Algarve Resident of yesterday March 3rd.

MP calls for alteration to property licensing law

DUE TO the current crisis affecting the property rental industry in the Algarve linked to licensing problems and fines (see related article in The Resident’s January 19 edition), José Mendes Bota, Social Democrat MP for the Algarve and Head of the Parliamentary Sub-Commission for Tourism, is proposing that the government alter Decree Law 44/2002 immediately. He is demanding action in order to give all owners of rental accommodation until the end of 2007 to comply and obtain the alvará de licença or autorização de utilização turística required.

In addition, the MP is calling on the government to urgently approve a revision and simplification of the current legal regime that regulates the licensing of rental properties, and promote a widespread awareness campaign to explain and clarify procedures among agents and local councils.

His belief is that the action taken now by the inspectorate should be the issuing of warnings, not fines, although a firm deadline should be set for legalising the properties concerned.

The MP also states that, ideally, a new law and guidelines should be approved by the end of March, after being discussed with representatives from the tourism industry and by the Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses, the national association of Portuguese councils.

According to Mendes Bota, the current situation (some agencies are receiving such high fines that they may be forced to close before summer) could have a direct effect on the tourism industry as a whole (golf, car hire, entertainment, administrative services, maintenance and cleaning, among others). “Many thousands of jobs are at risk if the government does not act without delay,” he says.

The Resident has also learned this week that the Direcção-Geral de Turismo is due to debate the issue on March 15 in a meeting to be held in Lisbon with representatives of local councils.

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