With the approval of Law No. 56/2023, all holders of local accommodation registrations are now required to provide proof of maintaining the activity, by presenting a contribution declaration.

The deadline for doing so ended on December 13th and, according to official data, around 40% of the total registered local accommodation did not provide this proof, and it is now up to the municipal councils to process the license cancellation processes.

In written statements to Lusa, the president of the Alojamento Local Em Portugal (ALEP) association recalls that local authorities “have to follow the rules of administrative processes that require a hearing or right of defense for interested parties, before carrying out any cancellation”.

ALEP, which represents businesspeople in the sector, considers that local authorities have demonstrated “common sense” and willingness to “evaluate each situation and always guarantee the right to a hearing”.

Furthermore, points out Eduardo Miranda, “cancellations must be evaluated very carefully, as councils may be making undue or even illegal cancellations” - fears that have already been reported by some local authorities.

“Thoughtless law”

“The difficulties faced by the councils are numerous, as they were victims of a thoughtless law and careless implementation”, criticizes Eduardo Miranda, noting that the local authorities “have no way of knowing whether those who did not send proof were because they were exempt, […] technical issues or simply because it is not really active”.

Lusa tried to obtain clarification on this matter from the Ministry of Housing but has so far received no response.

ALEP accuses the Government of, with the approval of the new housing law, committing “a sequence of errors” regarding local accommodation, in a “thoughtless attack, without dialogue and which will only create problems for a sector that represents 40% of overnight stays tourism” in Portugal.

“There was no concern to consult and dialogue either with the sector or with the chambers”, laments Eduardo Miranda, reporting “major obstacles” for the elderly, emigrants and foreigners with local accommodation, “who had no way of accessing the platform [for proof of activity], as they do not have a digital key or similar”.

According to the association's accounts, “80% of the municipalities with the highest rate of failure to send proof are in the interior or small municipalities, where local accommodation is often the only form of tourist accommodation”.

According to data released by the Ministry of Economy and the Sea on December 14, “74,972 valid contributory declarations” were submitted, out of a total of 120,719 entries, in the National Local Accommodation Register.

Lisbon, Porto and Albufeira recorded the highest number of submissions of contribution declarations, corresponding to the municipalities with the highest number of local accommodation registrations.