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New ruling in Portugal about apartments no longer being rented out to tourists

Hi,
I was wondering if anyone else heard about the supreme court ruling re apartments in Portugal no longer being rented out to tourists? My family and I are set to stay in an apartment at the end of May-June. A vlogger on You Tube posted about this 4-26-2022. Let me know if anyone knows anything more about this and if it affects all apartments or only certain ones. We reached out to the host of the apartment that we booked with and still have not heard back yet.

Posted by
8617 posts

. We reached out to the host of the apartment that we booked with and still have not heard back yet.

I suspect they are trying to figure it out.

I would start looking at alternatives

Posted by
736 posts

Wow! That sounds like kind of a big deal! I'd definatly book a back up, where there are options remaining. But maybe something that can be canceled easily if the apartment works out?

Posted by
7 posts

I am still not sure how this may or not affect all the apartments being rented out. Someone posted on the You tube trend that it only affects cases where there's litigation by the other owners of the building. Historically 50 in more than 60k licensed... so I am waiting to see if anyone also has more info before I cancel my apartment reservation. it just seems like too many people would be affected if it were all of them. There are tons of apartments on Airbnb and VBRO, etc...

Posted by
338 posts

This ruling just happened and your rental is a month from now. I don't think anything will change that fast, especially since there probably needs to be further guidance around how this ruling will be implemented etc.

But that is just my take on it all.

Posted by
7 posts

Gail you are probably right. I will hope for the best, but may reserve a back up just in case. Thanks for all the feedback.

Posted by
415 posts

If you read the Supreme Court ruling, it goes into effect “immediately” as of April 21. That was a week ago.
I wouldn’t plan on anything other than a pensao or a hotel room if I was going to Portugal.

Posted by
8767 posts

If it was me I would immediately book a hotel room that has free cancellation as a back up plan.

Posted by
415 posts

And book it before the stampede of rebookings causes rates to rise!

Posted by
1109 posts

Not a bad ruling if you think of being a full time owner/resident in such a building. Can you imagine having new neighbors on either side or above you every week or every few days. We have a rule that a rental must be a minimum of 30 days. Not sure why buildings in Portugal couldn't pass a rule of 30 or 60 day minimums.

Posted by
415 posts

It might be because the average salary in Lisbon is €800, while the average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment there is €700. And since the Portuguese are in the EU, they are free to move to Berlin or Dublin or Amsterdam to maybe better their standard of living.
In the last few years there’s been a decrease of 300,000 people living in Portugal. That is a problem, particularly if young people move out and the population shifts to becoming more older retirees and fewer workers.

Posted by
2328 posts

But we’re all “travelers”, or culture seekers, not “tourists”, right? So we’re good.

Posted by
415 posts

The Supreme Court ruling says “you’re good” if your
Cultural experience and travel does not displace a Portuguese citizen from their apartment just so the landlord can make more profit.

Posted by
5545 posts

Do not cancel. I don’t even think you need a Plan B and I am usually cautious. I presume that the apartment you are staying in is a legal rental and has an AL licence number?

The court ruling last week applies to apartments in residential blocks (not villas) that are licensed under the government AL scheme. The ruling held that in a residential block where an apartment is let to tourists, a resident can complain of noise or nuisance, the matter can be investigated and the AL licence can be revoked if the complaint is upheld. To date, there have been a very small percentage of complaints made versus the number of AL lettings. This is likely to take ages to resolve, even in the very unlikely event that the apartment you are staying in has had a complaint lodged against it.

It’s unlikely to have any effect in apartment blocks where all the units are let out to tourists, just those where there is a resident population.

There are so many AL property rentals in Portugal and the property market would collapse in places such as the Algarve if people couldn’t let their flats out. Most of these places wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for tourists renting apartments!

Go and enjoy Portugal.

Posted by
1178 posts

I agree with Jennifer (as usual)! Since this is a very new ruling and no one really knows what this will mean, there are likely zero worries - in the short term at least.

After living here since 2015, nothing happens in Portugal quickly! There is mass confusion as to what this will mean and, if history is any indicator, it may take years to hash it out. You likely haven’t heard back from the owner because they are trying to figure out what the ruling means for them.

I live in an apartment building that has the occasional holiday rental. As far as I know, there have been no complaints, since the holiday people are generally quiet and respectful. So, the AL will likely remain. And, I’m fine with that.

Lastly - Portugal needs tourists dollars and euros. Even more after two years of Covid. They are not going to quash the tourist industry. Come on and try not to worry. You are coming at a lovely time if the year. If something definitive happens, I will write about it on this forum.

Posted by
7 posts

Good News! I just received feedback from the reservation host that the apartment we are staying in for a week is not affected by the court ruling. I also received similar responses from two different vloggers who live in Portugal that "Apartments can still be rented out and it just needs to be a building dedicated to that, not mixed with residents too". I'm feeling very relieved. Thank you everyone for your great feedback.

Posted by
338 posts

I'm glad it all worked out. Enjoy your trip. Portugal is a lovely county, both the people and sites.

Posted by
194 posts

Hi!

Sophia, I'm portuguese, living in Portugal.

The Supreme Court was obviously obnoxious on this decision. We are still waitting the government pronunciation on this, because a decision from the Supreme Court is not a law but it makes case law (not sure if I'm translating right, translator says the right word is jurisprudence).

Which means that if in a residential building an apartment with a residencial license is in short term rental (alojamento local, in portuguese, commonly AL), and an accion in court is taken by one of the other owners of apartments in the same building, when it goes to Court (1st instance) they could decide imediately the end of it. This takes more or less 2 years, so you should be worried if you booked an apartment for 2024 or 2025... For 2022, don't worry at all!

With this decision, the Supreme made that for now, owners that want to be sure thay can continue their business and have a residencial licence, need to ask for a commercial license. Because there can always be a neighbour there that is envy of your business, and if they go to court, they will win, because of this case law.

I know what I would do if I had an apartment for tourists (which I don't) and a neighbour would try to end it: I would suspend the tourist thing, and would rent the apartment to students, for instance. I assure you the neighbour would regret very much being against tourists. (Both business can coexist, long term rentals and turistic business, so I would not loose my AL license).

Tourists don't come to Portugal to paint graffiti on building walls, organize parties all night long, etc. Tourists usually come here to visit the Country, and perhaps meet some locals, spending money on local business: the grocery next door, the restaurant around the corner, etc.

Landlords, or the owners of aparments that are in the short term rental for tourists, don't get rich with it. And they were hitten bad with the pandemic situation. They are usually people that lost their job and found that they can make some day-to-day money buying an aparment and profit with it in the tourism business. They work hard and pay a lot of taxes. But some people just see their profits, wich are low.

Anyway, they are competing directly with Hotels.

Portugal is now a turistic destination, so many Hotels (big chains) are opening. And they don't want competition, they want all the profits for them. They are buying entire neighborhoods and transforming it in a kind of Disneyland.

If that has something to do with the Supreme decision, I don't know. But it is very suspicious.

Anyway, just come to Portugal and enjoy, we are a sunny country, and the food is good.

I know you were not worried anymore, but I just wanted to clarify (or at least try) some things.

Helena

Posted by
194 posts

Threadwear wrote:

"Not a bad ruling if you think of being a full time owner/resident in such a building. Can you imagine having new neighbors on either side or above you every week or every few days. We have a rule that a rental must be a minimum of 30 days. Not sure why buildings in Portugal couldn't pass a rule of 30 or 60 day minimums."

Because obviously people staying longer are less noisy? Or less annoying? 30 or 60 days minimums means those are better than 3 or 5 nights?

Being a full time owner in not such a building, unfortunately, but in a building where noisy people stay in what seems forever it's much more annoying, trust me. Yes, of couse I call the police to end the parties, and half an hour later they were fined, the party starts again. And if it is not the party, it is the crazy neighbour that likes to ring all bells of the building all night every night! And they don't go away, they simply don't go, they own the apartment, or they are tenants with a contract with the minimum of one year!

I'd love to have tourist in the building where I live!

Posted by
7 posts

Dear Helena,
Thank you for your responses!

We are going to be in your beautiful country for the first time this September and have rented an apartment. We can't wait to see all that Lisbon and the surrounding areas has to show us...great food, sights, music, wonderful locals.
We were a bit upset when I first came upon this ruling, but you have put our minds at ease.

Obrigado!!!!

Posted by
194 posts

ca_ncy... whatever...

You are very welcome to my country, I hope you can add something to us! Money is important, of course, but it is not enough. The main profit Portugal has had this past years, from tourists, is the add culture we can all share. That is more important than money.

I sincerely hope you have a god time here!

Helena