Other tenants can say ‘no’ to short renting

  • ECO News
  • 9 December 2016

The Lisbon Court of Appeal decided that in general assembly, apartment owners have the right to disallow short-term renting on a house that was not meant, in the first instance, for commercial use.

The members of a coproperty can prohibit short-renting in their common building, the Lisbon Court of Appeal has decided. The judgement, mentioned this Wednesday by Portuguese newspaper Público, is based on the possibility tenants have of disallowing the usage of a building for anything other than long-term living, as it is inscribed in the Portuguese Civil Code.

According to Público, this judgment by the Court of Appeal derived from a particular case of an apartment building in Lisbon, in which the owners rejected that a parcel of the building was rented to tourists. The lessor requested a preliminary injunction, and although it was accepted by the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal rejected it based on the Civil Code: a building meant for housing may have one of its parcels for commercial uses, but only if the remaining tenants authorize it.

The legislation for short renting (Alojamento Local) only mentions the need to request authorization from public entities such as the Ministry of Finance and the Municipal Council, but the Court of Appeal considers those authorizations “do not change the statute of the property (…) according to which that parcel is meant for living”, states Público.

Menezes Leitão, president of the Associação Lisboense de Proprietários (Lisbon Owners’ Association), stated to Portuguese news agency Lusa: “If this goes forward, it will highly complicate short renting”, stating, as an example, that “students have always rented flats: it is also a type of short-term renting that was never considered as being an activity that changed the purpose of the apartment”.

More so: “It seems this is a major setback for short renting because every apartment owner will only authorize it by demanding something in return, which is what is normal when authorizations are needed. And I do not know if it is a good way to assure the country can offer short renting because it is obvious that if tourists do not come here [Lisbon], there are other cities ready to take them in”, stated Menezes Leitão, concerned.

After the Portuguese Hotels Association (AHP) study has recommended, last week, that short renting had to be formally allowed by other landlords of the coproperty, ALEP (Portuguese Local Housing Association) reacted, outraged: “In practice, what you are propositioning cripples the entrance of new houses for Alojamento Local, because AHP is imposing unanimity from tenants in order to have a new short renting an apartment in that coproperty”, stated Eduardo Miranda, president of ALEP, to Lusa.