Lisbon City Council will no longer grant new local accommodation licenses in specific areas if changes to the Municipal Regulations come into force.

According to a report by ECO, Lisbon Municipal Assembly has approved the suspension of new registrations for local accommodation (AL) in 14 parishes in the city, where the ratio between the number of these units and the number of dwellings is equal to or greater than 2.5 percent.

The proposal, presented by the PS/Livre coalition, provides that new licenses cannot be granted until the amendment to the Municipal Regulations for this activity comes into force.

Legal doubts

The proposal was initially approved at a Chamber meeting in December, with the PSD and CDS voting against, the Left Bloc abstaining and with votes in favour from PS, Livre, PCP and the independent councillor Paula Marques. From there it went to the Lisbon Municipal Assembly, which has the final word, but at the last meeting, on February 8, the discussion and voting on the proposal was postponed due to “legal doubts”, explains socialist João Paulo Saraiva to ECO.

“Legal doubts were raised and the services of the Chamber called attention to two of the themes”, details the councillor. “It was not explicitly stated that anyone who had already filed a [license request] process in the Chamber was excluded from these new rules”, said João Paulo Saraiva.

The second point had to do with the possibility of easily understanding which parishes are “in or out of the new rules” and where a new license “could be authorised”. Here, the PS/Livre coalition therefore decided to “introduce a framework that allows us to understand whether the parish is within or outside the parameters”.

Approval

Having made these changes (and after a second postponement due to technical issues in the organization of the Municipal Assembly), the proposal has now been approved by the Municipal Assembly with votes in favour from PS, Livre, PEV, PCP and independent deputies and votes against from PSD, PAN, Liberal Initiative, MPT, PPM, Aliança, CDS and Chega. The Left Bloc abstained.

Suspension

Now new local accommodation licenses are suspended in 14 of the 24 parishes in Lisbon*, for a period of six months, renewable for another equal period. But the suspension may end sooner. The objective is to suspend new registrations until the municipality prepares an “urban study”.

This study should include “the ratios of ‘local accommodation/property available for housing’ and ‘local accommodation/classic family accommodation’ by parish and by homogeneous tourist area”, reads the proposal. This study will make it possible to introduce changes to the Municipal Regulations for Local Accommodation and only when these changes come into force, new licenses can be granted.

When the proposal was approved in a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies, Carlos Moedas considered this suspension “very negative”. In an interview with ECO, the councillor for Housing at the municipality, Filipa Roseta, said that local accommodation “is not a fundamental problem” in Lisbon and that the solution would be to define a percentage of local accommodation properties by territory.

Where does the suspension apply?

The parishes where this temporary suspension applies (with the following local accommodation/housing ratios, according to the PS/Livre proposal) are: Ajuda (3%), Alcântara (5%), Areeiro (3%), Arroios (14%), Avenidas Novas (7%), Belém (4%), Campo de Ourique (4%), Estrela (11%), Misericórdia (39%), Parque das Nações (4%), Penha de França (4%), Santa Maria Maior (52%), Santo António (26%) and São Vicente (16%).

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