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“Cancellations should be evaluated very carefully, as the chambers may be making undue or even illegal cancellations,” says the president of ALEP.

The cancellation of Alojamento Local that has not provided proof of activity within the deadline set by the government “has by no means been immediate and nor can it be”, the sector association points out. With the approval of Law no. 56/2023, all holders of local accommodation registrations are now obliged to provide proof of their continued operation by submitting a tax return.

The deadline for doing so was December 13 and, according to official figures, around 40% of all registered local accommodation did not provide this proof, and it is now up to the local councils with territorial jurisdiction to process the cancellation of licenses.

In written statements to Lusa, the president of the association Alojamento Local Em Portugal (ALEP) recalls that local authorities “have to follow the rules of administrative processes that require a hearing or the right of defense for the interested parties, before making any cancellations”. ALEP, which represents entrepreneurs in the sector, believes that local authorities have shown “common sense” and a willingness to “assess each situation and always guarantee the right to a hearing”.

In addition, Eduardo Miranda points out, “cancellations must be assessed very carefully, as the councils may be making undue or even illegal cancellations” – fears that have already been reported by some councils. “The difficulties faced by local councils are innumerable, as they have been the victims of a thoughtless law and careless implementation,” criticizes Eduardo Miranda, noting that local councils “have no way of knowing whether those who didn’t send in the receipt were exempt, due to – technical issues or simply because they weren’t really active.”

Lusa tried to get clarification on this matter from the Ministry of Housing, but has so far received no response. ALEP accuses the government of making “a series of mistakes” with the approval of the new housing law on local accommodation, in a “thoughtless attack, without dialog and which will only create problems for a sector that represents 40% of tourist overnight stays” in Portugal.

“There was no concern about consulting and dialoguing either with the sector or with the local councils,” 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] because they didn’t have a digital mobile key or similar.” According to the association’s accounts, “80% of the municipalities with the highest rate of failure to send proof are inland 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 contribution declarations” were submitted to the National Local Accommodation Register, out of a total of 120,719 entries. Lisbon, Porto and Albufeira registered the highest number of contribution declarations, corresponding to the municipalities with the highest number of local accommodation registrations.

Even so, more than 8,200 local accommodation registrations are expected to be canceled in the capital alone. Law no. 56/2023, of October 6, made several legislative changes to housing, including the obligation to provide proof of the maintenance of local accommodation activity by submitting a tax return.

Only the operation of local accommodation units in own and permanent housing was exempt from this obligation, provided that this operation does not exceed 120 days per year. With regard to local accommodation, the new law also provides for tax exemptions for owners who remove their homes from this activity by the end of 2024, an extraordinary contribution on the activity and the suspension of new registrations outside low-density territories.

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