Short term rentals

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Short term rentals. Alojamento Local.

In the past I have written several articles about the problems we have encountered in recent years with letting private properties to tourists on a daily or weekly base (short rentals).

During the past years quite a few agencies and property owners have been caught by the ASAE (the authority in charge with inspections) and agents and property owners received heavy fines as their properties did not have the correct license.

Although letting a private property for longer than 6 month was never a problem short time rentals to tourist on a daily or weekly bases therefore was.

After a lot of discussions and promises on a regional and national level it seems that finally the Portuguese authorities have found a solution. The good news…there is some light at the end of the tunnel. By law decree of March 7th. of this year finally new legislation was published in the state paper (Diário de República) regulating new requirements for tourist developments and also provisions were made to regulate short holiday lets in private properties.

In paragraph 2 of article 3 of this law it was announced that new additional legislation would be published to regulate these lets. One also has come up with a new name for this type of lets which will be called Alojamento Local (AL) = Local Accommodation (AL).

Artigo 3.º Alojamento local

  1. Consideram-se estabelecimentos de alojamento local as moradias, apartamentos e estabelecimentos de hospedagem que, dispondo de autorização de utilização, prestem serviços de alojamento temporário, mediante remuneração, mas não reúnam os requisitos para serem considerados empreendimentos turísticos.

  2. Os estabelecimentos de alojamento local devem respeitar os requisitos mínimos de segurança e higiene definidos por portaria conjunta dos membros do Governo responsáveis pelas áreas do turismo e da administração local.

  3. Os estabelecimentos de alojamento local que reúnam os requisitos previstos no presente artigo são obrigatoriamente registados na câmara municipal da respectiva área.

  4. Apenas os estabelecimentos de alojamento local registados nas câmaras municipais da respectiva área podem ser comercializados para fins turísticos quer pelos seus proprietários, quer por agências de viagens e turismo.

  5. As câmaras municipais devem facultar ao Turismo de Portugal, I. P., o acesso informático ao registo do alojamento local.

  6. Os estabelecimentos referidos no presente artigo devem identificar-se como alojamento local, não podendo, em caso algum, utilizar a qualificação turismo e ou turístico, nem qualquer sistema de classificação.

As a result of this on the 25th. of June (2008) Portaria (Ministerial Decree) 517/2008 was published.

This decree has the following articles:

Art. 1 The object

The decree establishes the minimum requirements rental objects “AL” properties have to comply with.

Art. 2 What type of properties

Properties covered by this legislation are

  1. Private Villas - Houses
  2. Private Apartments
  3. Rooms in Guest houses.

Art. 3 Registrations

  1. All objects qualify for this license unless they were built before August 7th. 1951. (after that date a Habitation or Utilization license was required)

  2. The licenses will be issued by the local town council (Camâra) in which the property is situated and when applying by means of a requerimento (request – application) the following documents have to be submitted:

    • Prove that the applicant is authorised to do so (the owner or his legal representative)
    • A certificate issued by a technician that the electricity, gas and all hot water appliances are complying with the requirements and safety standards set by law.
    • A floor plan of the property indicating which part of the property will be made available to the tenants.
    • Log book of the property from tax department. (Caderneta Predial Urbana).

Once the application has been stamped by the Camâra (town council) it means that one can legally start letting the property, whereby the stamped application form serves as provisional proof.

Within 60 days of submission the Camâra can carry out an inspection to verify if all requirements as set by law are in place.

In the event that this is not the case the provisional license has to be handed back in and the license will be revoked.

Art. 4 Capacity

This deals with the amount of beds which are allowed in the rental object. It is allowed to have folding beds but the amount should not exceed the number of fixed beds. Temporary beds are allowed also.

Art. 5 General requirements

Describes what objects have to comply with:

  1. The rental objects have to be in good state of conservation in as well as outside.

  2. They have to be connected to the mains water supply and if not one should have their own independent water source, checked and legal.

  3. The property has to be connected to the main sewage system or otherwise to a septic tank, adequate in size for the maximum number of guests.

  4. Properties should have cold and hot water.

Rooms which are let should have:

  1. A window or balcony with access to an outside wall to allow and guarantee the inlet and circulations of fresh air.

  2. Have to be equipped with good furniture.

  3. Have to be equipped with curtains or any other means to darken the room.

  4. Have to be fitted with proper doors and good locks to guarantee the privacy of the tenants.

The rental objects need to have at least 1 bathroom for each 3 bed rooms and should contain a sink, toilet, bath and or shower.

The bathrooms should have doors with proper locks to guarantee the privacy of the clients.

The property owner should provide adequate information about the good functioning of the rental object.

In case of letting rooms in guest houses the local authorities can stipulate additional requirements.

Art. 6 Requirements about Hygiene

  1. Stipulates that all rental objects should comply with the minimum requirements about hygiene and obviously all properties should be clean.

  2. Cleaning of the rental properties and changing towels and bed linen should be done at least once a week and of course with every change-over of new guests.

Art. 7 Safety requirements:

  1. All rental objects should comply with general safety requirements to prevent fires.

  2. Objects with less than 50 guests should have:

    • Fire extinguishers and fire blankets adequate for the amount of guests.

    • First aid kit(s)

    • Manuals of all electrical appliances which are in use in the rental object. In case those are not available written information should be available explaining how all equipment work.

    • Indication of the National Alarm number (112)

Art. 8 Publicity:

In case of publicity by the owner or any commercial entity the rental object should have a name and the wording ““Alojamento Local” be added or abbreviated “AL**”**.

Art. 9 Identification sign:

  1. The rental objects should have on the outside close to the main entrance an identification sign which will be supplied by the local town council and has to comply with the requirements as set by law.

  2. The sign should be of a transparent (see-through) acryl material, minimal be 10mm thick and should comply with the following characteristics:

    • Measurement (size) 20mm x 20mm

    • The letter type used should be Arial 200, dark blue (pantone 280)

    • It has to be fixed 50mm. free of the wall with stainless steel screws with a diameter of 8mm and 60mm. in length.

Art. 10 Complaint book.

  1. Each rental object should have a complaint book as described in DL nº 156/2005 of 15 September, and alterations introduced in DL nº 371/2007 of November 6th.

  2. The original page of the complaint should be sent to ASAE, the authority in charge with economic inspections and with Powers to institute legal procedures as mentioned in the same law decree.

Art. 11 Transition period.

Not applicable in the case of Villas and Apartments.

Art. 12 Becomes effective:

This law enters into effect one day after being published in the State Paper (Diário de República) in this case therefore on the 26th. of June 2008!

Needless to say that in case you rent out your property you or your fiscal representative are obliged to declare rental income the year after by filing a tax return and pay taxes if due!

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