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Posted by portugalpress on May 24, 2018

Lagos-based real estate company Casas do Barlavento is concerned about the proposed changes to the rules that regulate the Alojamento Local (AL) sector which are being discussed by the government. The company stresses that the “Algarve is not the same as Lisbon” and that the issues that are arising in the capital have not affected the region. Thus, the rules for both areas should not be the same.

“We have to understand the differences between different areas,” Luís Ledo, managing director of Casas do Barlavento, told the Resident.

“The big danger that exists now is that changes will be made due to problems in one area, and that the specifications of other locations won’t be taken into account,” he added, which could scare some property owners back into renting their properties illegally.

His warnings come following many complaints that there is an “excess of AL” in big cities like Lisbon, and that the state is thinking of clamping down on the sector.

Complaints have focused on situations where so many properties are being used for AL that historic centres are losing their identity and communities are changing.

New rules could force owners of AL properties to request “prior authorisation from condominiums to commence rental activity”.

There are also proposals to limit the holiday rental period to 90 days a year, as well as to limit the number of AL properties allowed by each owner, proposing that in every four lodgings, one needs to be used for long-term lease.

Also being studied is the creation of a municipal supervision office to revoke AL licences in case of repeated complaints from other property owners in a condominium, while hostels may also be forced to return to the ‘Empreendimentos Turísticos’ (touristic developments) regime.

But as Ledo explains, virtually none of the issues that are being reported in Lisbon have been registered in the Algarve.

“In Lagos, for example, we haven’t noticed any tension related to AL,” he said.

“In fact, AL has encouraged many property owners to renovate their properties in the old town, or sell them to others who have renovated them,” Ledo explained, adding that the problems that have appeared in Lisbon are similar to many other European capitals such as Paris and Amsterdam.

He stressed that AL has always co-existed peacefully with the traditional hotel sector in the Algarve, and that it should not be seen as a problem when it has helped the economic recovery and boosted urban rehabilitation.

Ideally, Ledo believes that local authorities should be given the power to establish rules for the sector, so that the specifications of each location can be taken into account in the decision-making process.

Luís Lima, president of the national association of real estate professionals (APEMIP), has also made a number of suggestions to solve some of the sector’s issue, such as implementing an increase in the amount paid by the owner who rents out (as condominium expenses) to compensate for any inconvenience created.

He also suggested creating compulsory multi-risk insurance for housing to cover possible damage to common areas, and the signing of a term of responsibility for each guest to respect operating rules and any fines to be applied to non-compliant parties.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com

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