Airbnb has plan B to work around Lisbon’s new LA limits

  • ECO News
  • 3 July 2019

The short-rentals platform Airbnb criticised Lisbon's new Local Accommodation (LA) Regulation this Tuesday, which establishes absolute and relative contention areas.

The short-rentals platform Airbnb argued this Tuesday that Lisbon’s new Local Accommodation (LA) Regulation, which establishes absolute and relative contention areas, does not distinguish LA professionals from people who share or rent rooms, harming the capital’s families. The deadline to consult this regulation project ends this Tuesday.

In a statement, Airbnb says that it has presented its observations on this matter to the Municipality of Lisbon (CML), defending that private rooms rent in family homes should not be counted as LA units and, therefore, should not be considered within those contention areas.

“Rooms are homes in these cases and there is no replacement of the population there nor even a problem of inexisting authenticity. One cannot compare a house-sharing situation with an investor’s activity that has local accommodation as its core professional activity and core income source.”

Due to the lack of differentiation, everyone sharing their houses with guests registered their homes as LA units the same way as investors did. Airbnb recalls that tourism is a key-sector for Lisbon and the country, contributing to economic growth, especially of local companies.

At the beginning of May, the socialist-led municipality approved this new regulation with the abstention of the Left Bloc and the opposition of the rest of parties at the local assembly.

According to the document, “absolute contention areas” are those “touristic homogeneous zones presenting a ratio between local accommodation and permanent residential houses superior to 20%”. “Relative contention areas” are those where the ratio is “equal or superior to 10% or inferior to 20%”.

A source from the Municipality told Lusa that zones as Bairro Alto, Madragoa, Castelo, Alfama and Mouraria, where it is not possible to register any LA unit since November 2018, are considered “absolute contention areas”. Graça and Colina de Santana will be considered as “relative contention areas”, limiting the possibility of registering an LA unit there.

“Absolute contention areas” restrain any new registry of local accommodation, except “when is in the context of total or partial rehabilitation of ruined buildings”.

The Regulation also considers Baixa, Avenida da Liberdade, Avenida da República and Avenida Almirante Reis as “predominantly tertiary zones”, being excluded from those contention areas.