Owning and operating an Airbnb in a nation as beautiful and pleasant as Portugal has become potentially quite lucrative. As with any business venture, however, before getting underway
you need to do your homework. If you are interested in letting a property as an Airbnb in Portugal, then read this article before proceeding further. Herein we will outline the basic
procedures and precautions you will need to observe in order to follow Portuguese law.
The website GuestReady wrote: “Without a permit, you will not be able to list your property on online booking platforms or promote your property on the short-term rental market. Airbnb has
been working with the Portuguese government to ensure that property owners are prohibited from publishing a listing if they do not operate according to the local legislation.”
The site further describes in its overview two categories of short-term rental permit. The first permit is the Regime Simplificado, for individuals who project to make an annual revenue of
€200,000 or less from the property in question. The second permit is the Regime de Contabilidade Organizada, intended for private-limited companies that will be further required
to hire a certified accountant to sign-off on all financial activities related to the property’s use.
So, the first thing you want to do? Get acquainted with the law itself as it is set forth in Decree-Law no. 128/2014, of August 29, amended by Decree-Law no. 63/2015 of 23 April.
The consolidated version of this law and its amendment can be found here. You should not take anything for granted, particularly if you are not native to Portugal. The law
is not complex or necessarily demanding. By studying it, however, you will avoid unfortunate misunderstandings that can result in delays, or fines. Local statutes might also affect your
decision to start an Airbnb. So, if you are in the process of scouting available real estate, make ure the local zoning laws align with your interests. If you already own the property, you
probably have a good idea what you can and cannot do with it, but it’s still in your best interest to double-check for new or amended statutes that could affect the flow of its projected
clientele. As the old saying goes measure twice, cut once. Another item to consider is how the pandemic might affect business. Covid-19 has sent a series of destabilising shockwaves throughout the business world. The sectors most affected has been travel and tourism. Outbreaks, lockdowns, recession, and unemployment have drastically, if temporarily, shrunk this vital industry. During this lull, the Portuguese government, like many others, are taking the opportunity to better regulate it, hoping to return many short-term rental properties to the long-term rental market. But also, in hopes of improving quality of Airbnb listings.
And Airbnb will indeed take the brunt force this development. The Intelligencer reported on why Portugal’s government went in this direction and how this might reshape the Portuguese
real estate market. “As Lisbon rapidly transformed into a tourist destination over the last decade, the number of Airbnb units skyrocketed — driving up the cost of housing, and pushing
longtime residents out of the city center. When 2020 started, many neighborhoods were more than one third short-term housing; in the worst-affected part of town, around 55 percent of
residential units had been converted to makeshift hostels and hotels. Then the virus came, and all the rentals dried up. Now Lisbon is taking advantage of that situation, in order to push some of these units back into the long-term housing market. The city government is renting empty apartments directly from property owners, and then turning around to rent them to Portuguese workers and students at subsidized rates.” (The European Cities Using the Pandemic As a Cure for Airbnb, The Intelligencer; 13 August 2020) Airbnb, to facilitate compliance with Portuguese law and in hopes of re-stimulating its former growth, has developed a streamlined registration process, so that local permits will be featured alongside each of their listings. They released this information on their website along with an FAQ. “Airbnb recently announced that it would implement a new listing protocol in Portugal that makes it easier for hosts to comply with the applicable short-term rental laws... Within the next few weeks, Airbnb hosts in Portugal can add an existing registration number, or claim an exemption directly from the Airbnb website.” Once you have researched all this for yourself, you will have an excellent understanding of what
to avoid as well as how to proceed. You will discover, for instance, what documentation the civil authorities will require to prove your property meets the legal standard. And you will discover
the best means of promoting your listing with Airbnb after you have registered your local operating licence.
For further reading:
1. Airbnb: Portugal’s Registration Process: Frequently Asked Questions
2. Guest Ready: Lisbon Short-term Rentals Licence Information 2020
3. The Intelligencer: The European Cities Using the Pandemic As a Cure for Airbnb