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The New Local Accommodation

With the amendment to the local housing law coming into force, Parliament legislated with the main concern on maintaining the social realities existing in the cities and neighborhoods that have "suffered" with the increase of the flow of tourists in Portugal.

The changes in question are the result of the many protests presented not only by the hotel sector but mainly from the populations of the historic neighborhoods of cities such as Lisbon and Porto.

The main changes to the law relate to the fact that the City Councils will now be able to limit the permits for the exploitation of local dwellings by creating "containment areas".

In this way the Municipalities can approve, by executive order, showing due cause, the existence of containment areas, in each parish, in whole or in part, for the installation of new local accommodation, being able to impose limits regarding the number of establishments of local accommodation in these territories, which may take into account percentage limits in proportion to the housing available. The installation of new housing in these areas requires an express authorization from the respective City Hall.

These areas will have to be communicated to Turismo de Portugal and will be re-evaluated at least every two years.

From the point of view of those who exploit these types of accommodation, and if they are included within a "containment area", the maximum number of spaces to be explored is seven, and if they already have them before the entry into force of these changes, may not apply for new authorizations.

Although the containment areas are not yet defined by the city council regulations, Lisbon has already suspended the issuance of new permits for the city's historic neighborhoods which are the most targeted in this activity.

This amendment also gave the possibility of condominium owners of a building where a local accommodation is located to deliberate on the maximum increase of 30% of the value of the condominium quota for the fractions where the local accommodation activity is carried out. 

Likewise, and for the sake of liability for damages that guests may cause, the holder of the local accommodation holding is jointly and severally liable with the guests for the damages caused by them in the building in which the unit is installed, being obliged to execute and maintain valid a multi-risk insurance of civil liability that protects it from its assets and claims in the scope of its tourist activity, determining the responsibility of the holder of the operation of the establishment, and that covers risks of fire and property damage and non-property damage caused to guests and to third parties, arising from the activity of providing accommodation services.