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  • Writer's pictureJoana Wheeler

Local Accommodation (Alojamento Local): legislation

Local accommodation is here to stay. It first arose as a method to earn extra money by renting out vacant or seasonal properties, but it quickly gained popularity. Therefore, it was required to legislate the activity and create the operating procedures.

Although lucrative, the activity is complicated and involves a lot of responsibilities. The laws that govern the guidelines for local accommodations are described in detail below.

These businesses are those that adhere to legal criteria and "offer temporary housing services to tourists, for remuneration."

Here you will find what you need to do if you want to start a local accommodation business.

All local accommodation legislation

By Decree-Law No. 39/2008 on March 7, the legislation that established the official definition of local accommodations came into existence. This decree-law outlined the supply of short-term lodging services in facilities that did not fulfill the legal conditions to be considered tourist resorts.

Ordinance No. 138/2012 of May 14 was revised to clarify the minimal standards local accommodation establishments must meet as well as the procedure for registering these enterprises with municipal councils.

As the activity was expanding, it was necessary to keep it under control and promote consecutive alterations or additions. Here are some of the previous lwas:

What are the requirements to open a Local Accommodation?

It is not enough to own a property and list it on rental websites in order to start a local lodging business. The property must have the following characteristics:

  • In good condition for conservation and operation;

  • Connected to the public water supply network or have a private water supply system with a properly controlled origin;

  • Connected to the public sewer system or have septic tanks that are sized to the establishment's maximum capacity;

  • Have a mechanism (blinds, blackout curtains) in place to prevent the entry of outside light;

  • Have hot and cold running water;

  • The property must have a window or balcony with direct access to the outside that offers proper ventilation and aeration conditions;

  • Be furnished with suitable furniture, equipment, and utensils;

  • Sanitary facilities must have a security system (lock and key) that guarantees privacy;

  • All other doors must be fitted with a security system that ensures user privacy;

  • Hygiene and cleaning standards must always be followed;

  • Be registed with the local authorities;

  • The property must have a complaints book

How to open a Local Accommodation

Ordinance No. 262/2020, November 6, 2020, established a few modifications. A few inquiries have been made on user reception, storage and cleaning services, breakfast, bathroom facilities, locations, and needs, as well as reporting data on overnight stays.

Every local lodging establishment is required to provide a reception service, or some other method of check-in and check-out. This service must exist, whether it is delivered in person or not (for example, via telephone or electronic means).

Another need is the provision of minimum cleaning assurances. To ensure the storage and cleaning of the homes, the facilities must have the necessary equipment in good working order. When there is a change in the number of guests, the towels and sheets must be changed, and if the stay is longer than seven days, they must be changed once a week.

If the restaurant serves breakfast, it is required to adhere to all applicable laws regarding food safety and hygiene.

The law makes it clear that sanitary facilities may be either private or shared. However, there must be at least one sanitary system for every four rooms in apartments, villas, and bedrooms, and a maximum of 10 people can use it.

The law makes reference to the requirement of reporting data on overnight stays.

This is what? In real terms, this implies that local lodging facilities must inform the SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service) about the lodging of foreign nationals. The Accommodation Bulletin serves as a channel for communication. This information must be sent via the Accommodation Bulletins Information System up to three working days following the entry and leave from the accommodation.

Place an identification plate on the wall. All local lodging establishments must comply with this, with the exception of villas. The sign must be posted outside the hostels, close to the main door.

Condominium and local accommodation

You can, but only if the remaining condominos give their consent. The accommodation may be canceled if more than half of the condominos (after accounting for permilagem) oppose it. This is possible if the municipal council is convinced that there has been a "repeated and proven practice of activities that disturb the regular use of the building, as well as acts that cause discomfort and impact the other condominos."

Additionally, with a cap of 30% of the condominium's worth, neighbors might require that the owner of local housing contribute an additional amount equal to the costs associated with using the common areas.

What are containment areas?

Containment zones can be set by municipalities. There is a cap on the total number of local lodging facilities in these locations. A single owner is only permitted to check out a maximum of seven lodgings.

Fines imposed

Depending on whether the local accommodation is registered to a person or a business, the penalties for breaking the regulations may differ. Generally speaking, fines for breaking the regulations can range from 50€ to 4.000€ euros if registed to a person and from 750€ to 40.000€ if registered to a business.

Make sure that everything is in compliance with the laws listed in this article if you intend to open one or more local lodging facilities

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