In Portugal, short term rentals are available through Airbnb. There are some rules and regulations to rent your property though. In this guide, you will find information about the registration process and other necessary information about the short-term rental operations. You will also find information about how to get your short-term rental license (Licença de Alojamento Local).
Before renting out your property as a short-term rental in Portugal, you need to apply for a license to function as an Alojamento Local (short term rental). In this way, you will register your property as touristic rental accommodation with the local town hall (Camara). This regulation has been in effect since 2014 under the Decree-Law no.128/2014 amended by Decree-Law no. 63/2015. It is called the Local Lodging Regime (Alojamento Local Regime).
You can register by entering your registration number received from the Portal do Cidadão (Citizen Portal) on your Airbnb listing. You can also be exempt from registering. In this case, you register by claiming that you’re exempt from registering.
All short term rental properties have to be registered. These properties are called “Alojamento Local” in Portugal. They can be in the form of a house, apartment, or a lodging establishment, including hostels and dormitories. The ultimate service they provide is temporary accommodation in return for a determined price.
Also, the Alojamento Local regime assumes that an Alojamento Local exists when a building or a fraction of it is presented, made available as an accommodation aimed for tourists or short-term rentals. It happens when they are on websites or presented by travel agencies. Or when the property is furnished and equipped, and when it offers complementary services like cleaning or a reception desk, for a period of fewer than 30 days.
How to register
You need to register for a new license, adding an existing license, or claiming an exemption.
The process is as follows:
- Going to “your listings” on airbnb.com
- Clicking on your listing in Portugal
- Clicking registration at the top of the page
- Following instructions to register, and clicking on the “Submit” button.
Note that you need to repeat the same process for all your listings in Portugal.
If you have already registered, you need to complete the above mentioned steps to add your existing permit number to your listing. You don’t need to renew your registration unless there is a change in your listing or registration details. If there is any change, you need to notify the authorities in Portugal within ten days. Similarly, make sure that you update your Airbnb listing accordingly.
You should also note that the process of registration is free.
Information and documents to be shared with the authorities
You need to provide the following documents/information with the authorities:
- The name, address, and Portuguese tax number (NIF) of the owner/person to carry out the activity
- Start date of the activity
- The capacity of the property (rooms, beds, and users)
- Valid authorization of use of the property
- Details of emergency contact
- Name adopted by the establishment and its address
- Passport/ID, and company documents
- Land registry document
- A signed declaration stating that your property is suitable as an Alojamento Local establishment
- Lease agreement, deeds, or other documents entitling you to rent your property
- Declaration of Tax Activity (Declaração de Início de Atividade), CAE 55201 or 552014.
Duration for short term rentals
The rules do not require a minimum or a maximum number of nights for the property to be deemed as an Alojamento Local establishment.
The following is a list of touristic enterprises:
- Hotels (including guesthouses, inns, and bed & breakfasts)
- Holiday villages
- Tourist apartments
- Campsites and caravan sites
- Tourism enterprises in rural areas
- Town and country house tourism accommodation.
These touristic enterprises have a specific legal regime called Regime Jurídico da Instalação, Exploração e Funcionamento dos Empreendimentos Turísticos. It is under the Decree-Law no. 39/2008, of March 7, as amended. So it applies to establishments aimed for accommodation services in exchange for remuneration. They need to have an appropriate set of facilities, equipment, and complementary services for their operation, as Airbnb indicates on its website.
Requirements to be considered as a Local Accommodation
The regulation requires some qualifications for properties to be regarded as a local accommodation establishment. You can find some of them below including the recent amendments in the law.
- The total number of bedrooms in your properties must not exceed nine. Also, unless they are hostels, they cannot accommodate more than 30 people
- You must provide your property in perfect condition. The installation works and equipment must work appropriately as well
- The properties must be connected to the public water supply and public sewage network
- They need to include tap water
- They need to contain at least one window or balcony connected to the exterior to have appropriate ventilation conditions
- The properties must include furniture, equipment, and appropriate home utensils
- The sanitary facilities are private or common to several rooms and dormitories.
- In apartments, houses, and rooms, there must be at least one toilet for every four rooms and cumulatively a maximum of ten users
- In accommodation establishments, the sanitary facilities common to several rooms, and which are not separated by gender, must have autonomous toilets separated by doors with security systems that allow privacy
- In accommodation establishments, there must be at least one toilet, a washbasin, and a shower for every six users who are sharing common sanitary facilities
- Houses and apartments with more than 10 users must comply with the fire risk safety rules, pursuant to the provisions of Decree-Law No. 220/2008, of 12 November, in its current wording, and the technical regulation contained in Ordinance No. 1532/2008, of 29 December, as well as the exceptions provided therein
- Local accommodation establishments provide a reception service (check-in and check-out) and information for users, which can be carried out in person or in person, namely by telephone or electronically
- Accommodation establishments, including hostels, provide a means of communication with the reception service, as well as an indication of the national emergency number and contact details for the operator
- The operating entities of the local accommodation establishments must communicate the accommodation of foreigners, under the terms defined in Law no. 23/2007, of 4 July, which approves the legal regime of entry, stay, departure and removal of foreign nationals, and Ordinance No. 287/2007, of March 16, in the current wording
- Local accommodation operators should cooperate with national authorities in the collection and provision of data relating to the number of users, overnight stays, and others that are requested for statistical purposes.
For more details, you can check the website.
Taxation on your local accommodation activity
Firstly, you must register your accommodation service activity with the Tax Administration. All profit you gain from this activity will be taxed by the B category, such as business profit.
Two tax regimes are available for this.
- Simplified Regime (Regime Simplificado):
If you gain a profit amount of less than €200,000 (from your local accommodation activity), you can either choose the simplified regime or the organized accounts regime. For the simplified regime, the profit to be taxed is calculated with the 0.35 coefficient. This is applied to hotel services and other similar activities. The other 65 will be deemed as costs of the activity, so not an object of taxation.
- Organized accounts:
If you gain more than €200,000 a year from your local accommodation activity, you will be directly included in the organized accounts regime. Then, the rules of the corporation tax (IRC) will determine your taxable profit in accordance with the applicable adaptations.
If a company performs the local accommodation activity, they will be subject to the standard corporation tax rules. For example, a fixed rate of 21% applies to the profit earned.
The local accommodation activity is considered as a services provider. So, it is subject to a reduced VAT rate of 6%. The VAT rate applies to accommodation and breakfast price. Yet, if you choose the simplified regime and if your annual income is less than €10,000, you can claim to be exempt from VAT.
If you are not exempt from VAT, you must pay this tax through a periodic return of VAT, which can be monthly or quarterly whether the activity turnover is superior or inferior to the amount of €650,000. The periodic return is carried out on the website of “Portal das Finanças” (Finances Institution of Portugal).
Regarding touristic animation agents and travel agents
If you are either a touristic animation agent or a travel agent, you may be subject to registry obligations. You can find the necessary information and application steps on the website of Turismo de Portugal in the section about the National Registry of Touristic Animation Agents (RNAAT). While describing your listing, you have to comply with them.
Getting assistance for the process
You may have difficulty in handling this process especially if you are not familiar with the procedure, and if you don’t speak Portuguese. Considering many details to be aware of, it may be a better option to hire a lawyer or a management company. In this way, you can save time and ensure that the process is handled appropriately. Usually, it costs around €600-800 in total for this work.