“In the specified areas from the moment that local accommodation is no longer accepted, as there is demand, illegal local accommodation appears and we are full of illegal local accommodation around the city”, declared councillor Joana Almeida.
Noting that illegal local accommodation is the responsibility of the Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE), the councillor said that the Urbanism department is acting within the scope of its competences, starting with carrying out inspections, which “was not done in the past”, verifying that there are illegal works in the local accommodation, as well as situations of non-compliance with the requirements for operation.
Joana Almeida said that there are “several possible fronts” to prevent illegal local accommodation, namely through data from booking platforms, such as Airbnb and Booking, as well as “through the tourist tax or the water meter”.
Regarding the opening of bars in residential areas, the problem was raised by Angélique da Teresa (IL), who said there was “almost a war between residents and commercial interests”.
The president of the Misericórdia Parish Council, Carla Madeira (PS), proposed regulating the hours of local establishments and warned that, despite the Urbanization Plan for the Historic Center of Bairro Alto e Bica prohibiting the opening of bars, hardware stores, and tobacconists “turned into bars”, under the Zero Licensing, because they proceeded to change the licenses, including for tea houses, but “they don't sell tea, they sell a lot of beer, a lot of alcohol”.
“These establishments are operating illegally. These establishments should be closed immediately”, appealed Carla Madeira.
In response, the councillor for Urbanism acknowledged that bars are “a transversal problem” in the city of Lisbon, referring to that, “at the moment, there is a lack of control” as a result of the Zero Licensing, in which “an owner can change from restaurant to bar without going through new urban licensing”.
“I think the time has come to work on a regulation to minimize this type of conflict”, explained Joana Almeida, pointing out the need to control establishments’ opening hours and limit noise, which must also involve strengthening inspection, possibly with the support of the parish councils.
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