Requests for new licenses for local accommodation in Lisbon have more than quadrupled in recent weeks, since the Government announced the new measures for housing where it is planned to suspension of licenses in urban areas until December 31, 2030.
The Lisbon Chamber revealed to ECO that since the announcement of the measures proposed by the Government in the Mais Habitação package, on February 16, there has been “a significant increase” in the number of applications for new licenses for local accommodation.
According to data provided by the municipality, in less than three weeks, between February 16 and March 7, “58 requests were submitted”. The number is more than four times higher than the processes that were received by the municipality’s services between June and December 2022. In that period, on average, “three weekly requests were registered, with monthly totals between eight and 13 requests”.
This trend of “sudden increase in requests” had already been registered previously, “at times when restrictions or limitations on local accommodation in Lisbon were publicly announced”, the Lisbon Chamber, chaired by Carlos Moedas, also tells ECO.
According to the legislative proposal, in public discussion until March 10, the Government wants to suspend until December 31, 2030, the approval of new licenses for the establishment of local accommodation “with the exception of areas for rural accommodation, under terms to be defined by ordinance of the members of the Government responsible for the areas of economy, housing and territorial cohesion”. The autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores are excluded from this rule.
The document from the Executive also states that registrations valid on the date of entry into force of the law expire on December 31, 2030, becoming “renewable for five years”. The parish councils started to work together with the city councils and the ASAE, gaining supervisory powers, becoming able to “impose fines and additional sanctions” in cases of non-compliance with safety or public health rules.
Another of the amendments provided for in the document is that the owners, by majority, can oppose local accommodation in autonomous fractions of buildings or in parts of urban buildings, unless the constructive title provides for this use, clarified the Government.
The opposition of the residents implies the “immediate cessation” of the activity after the resolution of the joint owners’ assembly is communicated to the president of the respective municipality.
However, the Government’s proposal says that this rule does not apply if the building title of the property provides for the use of the respective fraction for that purpose or if the assembly of owners has expressly authorized the activity.
Since the end of 2021, the Lisbon Chamber has already been applying measures to reduce local accommodation licenses, especially in the historic areas of the capital, and changes to the municipal regulation on local accommodation are being discussed.
On the table is the possibility for the municipality to reduce the ratios between local accommodation establishments and properties available for housing, moving the relative containment zones to 5%, instead of “equal to or greater than 10% and less than 20%” .
This change means that parishes “become in relative contention when there are five or more AL titles for every 100 classic family dwellings”, announced the municipality earlier this month.
The change in ratios includes absolute containment zones, which are proposed to be increased to 15%, when the current regulation establishes that they are “homogeneous tourist zones that present a ratio between LA establishments and the number of permanent dwellings that exceeds 20%”. That is, “they enter into absolute containment when a total of 15 AL titles are reached for every 100 classic family accommodations”, pointed out the chamber.
However, in October 2022, the Municipal Assembly approved, by a majority, the proposal by PS, BE and Livre to extend the suspension of new local accommodation registrations in the city “for a new period of six months.” This suspension is in force in 15 of the 24 parishes in the city of Lisbon, that is, only nine can accommodate new establishments.
Local accommodation is, through the tourist tax, one of the sources of revenue for municipalities. In 2022, the Lisbon Chamber collected a total of 33.1 million euros with the payment of the tourist tax, of which 14.422 million resulted from the payment of guests in local accommodation.