Owning and Letting Holiday Accommodation in Portugal

Information on renting out property for short-term lettings; including rules and regulations, eligibility, how to register and what documentation is required...

Angloinfo Edit: For detailed information on rules regarding the registration of non-Portuguese guests, see Rules on Renting out Holiday Accommodation in Portugal

Owners of property in Portugal can rent the property for short-term lettings (according to Portuguese bylaw 517/2008 that regulates Decree 39/2008), however the industry is regulated.

Owners must register their properties with the Town Hall (Câmara) as a Local Accommodation Establishment (Estabelecimento de Alojamento Local) and receive a habitation permit.

"Local Accommodation" includes villas and apartments that don't fulfil the requirements necessary to be considered a tourist development, but whose owners provide temporary accommodation in return for payment.

The villas and apartments classified as Alojamento Local must meet the legal requirements for safety and hygiene. Only registered and licensed villas or apartments may be advertised as local accommodation (for short-term rentals or seasonal rentals) by their owners, travel agencies or tourist offices, and they must be advertised as "Alojamento Local" or "AL" and include the official licence number..

Legal Requirements

  • The exterior and interior of the building must be well-maintained and in good condition
  • The premises must be connected to the mains water supply or have a private, controlled water system
  • The premises must be connected to the mains sewer system or have a septic tank that has the capacity to handle the wastewater created if the property is at maximum capacity
  • Cold and hot water must be available
  • The bedrooms must have good ventilation and air circulation provided by a window or other access to the exterior of the building
  • The premises must have furniture and appropriate equipment and utensils
  • Windows should have a system for preventing the entry of light
  • Doors must have locks or a similar system that affords guests privacy
  • One bathroom must be provided for every three bedrooms, and include a sink, bath or shower with a lock
  • Guests must be advised of the rules of the property by the operators of the Alojamento Local
  • An official Complaints Book (Livro de Reclamações) must be kept on the premises and be available at all times

Insurance

All property must be insured. Under legislation, all property requiring a rental license must produce the gas and electricity certificates. Gas inspection certificates must be renewed every five years; house insurance is void for fire or explosion if no current certificate is in place. Should there be a claim and it is deemed by the insurance company that the property is not up to standard, then the likelihood is that there could be a reduction, or refusal, of settlement. Insurance companies recommend that a "Tourist Letting" rider be included on a policy.

Note: Public liability insurance does not necessarily cover paying guests although it does cover non-paying guests. Ensure the proper insurance is in place to cover injury or damage to paying guests and their property.

Hygiene requirements

The guest rooms and linens must be cleaned at least once a week and when a new guest arrives.

Safety requirements

Prior to opening for business, the premises must be equipped with safety equipment. Equipment requirements vary according to the size of the property and number of guests it can accommodate.

The capacity of the property is determined by the number and type of beds at the property. There may not be more convertible beds than regular beds. Removable beds/cots are not limited in quantity.

For facilities accommodating fewer than 50 people (check with the Town Hall for required quantities):

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Fire blankets
  • First aid kit
  • Manuals for appliances or information about how to use them
  • A notice clearly indicating the local emergency phone number (Tel: 112)

For facilities accommodating more than 50 persons (check with the Town Hall for required quantities):

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire blankets
  • First aid kits
  • Manuals for appliances or information about how to use them
  • A notice clearly indicating the local emergency phone number (Tel: 112)
  • Fire protection measures and a declaration of responsibility by the owner

The following may also be required: (check with the Town Hall)

  • Smoke alarms
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Gas detectors

Within 60 days of application, the Town Hall should inspect the property in order to confirm that the legal requirements are met. If it is determined the property does not meet requirements, guests can no longer be accepted.

How to Register

The following documents are required in order to register as an Alojamento Local:

  • A completed registration form (available from the local Town Hall)
  • Proof of ownership of the premises to be registered
  • The deeds (caderneta predial) filed with the Land Registry (Caderneta)
  • A valid habitation permit (issued by the Câmara)
  • Safety declarations issued by qualified technicians that certify that electrical, gas and boiler installations meet legal operating requirements
  • A floorplan of the accommodation to be licenced (the floorplan may be for the building in its entirety or just the area to be licenced)

After the application has been submitted, a stamped copy is returned to the applicant and this should be shortly followed by a letter with the official AL number which needs to be displayed on all advertisements. Once this process has been completed, the applicant may begin taking bookings for the property.

Advertising

Any advertising of the accommodation must include the letters "AL" or the words "Alojamento Local" after the name with the licence number.

Complaints

An official Complaints Book (Livro de Reclamações) must be kept on the premises at all times. If a complaint is lodged, the original complaint sheet must be sent to the Food Safety and Economic Authority (Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica/ASAE), which will investigate the claim.