Porto Short-term Rentals Licence Information 2019
Essential Guide for Alojamento Local Licence applicants
Overview for Property Managers
Last updated: 24 July 2019
GuestReady has prepared an Essential Guide to Short-Term Rentals in Porto outlining the three main steps to help you obtain your Licença de Alojamento Local (short-term rental licence).
Before you start renting out your property on the short-term rental market in Portugal, you have to apply for a licence to operate as an Alojamento Local. This legislation was put into force in 20141 and can be processed at the local Câmara Municipal through the Balcão Único Eletrónico.
On the 10th of July 2019, Porto City Council voted on new rules and regulations for its containment area in the city. This guide reflects the latest updates. The Council voted in favour of suspending all registrations of new Alojamento Locals (short-term rentals) licences in ‘Conditioned Containment Area’ (areas where there is a pressure level of 50% or more). This includes Porto’s historic centre and Bonfilm as well as some of the cities most popular streets such as Alfândega, Lóios, Mouzinho da Silveira, Flores, Aliados, Santa Catarina and Rua do Almada.
When applying for a licence, you will need to decide how you operate your short-term rental; within the Regime Simplificado, where you can manage your accounting up till 200,000 euros in annual gross revenue. Or as a private limited company, Regime de Contabilidade Organizada, which requires you to hire a Técnico Oficial de Contas to review and sign-off on your economic activities.
Before advertising your property on the short-term rental market you need to make sure you have completed the following steps successfully to comply with Portuguese law:
- Before you start the application please make sure that you have the following information and documents ready to complete your registration successfully.
this takes around 10-20 days to process.
Before you start the application process, make sure that you have the following information and documents ready to complete your registration for the Alojamento Local licence. Also, be aware that to move forward with the online registration, you will need to have the following at hand:
- Cartão de Cidadão
- Identification card reading device
- Or a Digital Key
- Digital Key or a Digital Certificate from a Lawyer, Solicitor or Notary
- European Digital Certificate
- If you do not have the above documents, you will need to complete your registration in person at the local city council.
Ensure you meet the General and Safety Requirements to pass regular governmental audits.
Once you have the proper legal structure set-up to operate as a short-term rental and Airbnb in Portugal, we recommend to familiarise yourself with the regular administrative duties that you will be responsible for carrying out. These are:
This guide has been written with the Regime Simplificado in mind
Alojamento Local Definition
Properties classed as an Alojamento Local are properties that provide temporary accommodation legally to paying guests (PAX) and which meet specific requirements that are highlighted throughout the guide.
Important information for property managers
For a property to be classed as an Alojamento Local it needs to meet the following criteria:
- Maximum of 9 rooms in an entire property or 75% of the fractions
- Maximum occupancy per room is 2 Adult PAX.
- Two cots or foldable beds can be added to a room for infants or children up to 12 yrs old.
- If the property is an apartment or villa (see below for the property types) you can add 2 Adult PAX in the living room
- Can accommodate up to a maximum of 30 PAX at a time
- Hostels have no set capacity limit on the number of PAX they host
- A maximum of three rooms can be rented out if the hosts residência fiscal is the same as the Alojamento Local.
Types of Short Lets in Portugal
Moradia | Villa
Apartamento | Apartment
Estabelecimento de Hospedagem | Guest House
Is an Alojamento Local that rents out individual rooms to guests in a building. This type of short let can carry the title of 'hostel' when it meets additional requirements. The Guest House can define itself as a hostel when it rents out beds in a dorm room2
Quartos | Rooms
What are áreas de contenção?
In the last few years, Portugal tourism industry has boomed and, with it, the demand for Alojamento Local has increased starkly. To help cities manage this new demand, Portugal created new legislation3 which allows local councils to implement containment areas in their districts to restrict the number of short-term rental properties.
You will need to apply for a permit to operate as an Alojamento Local before the containment area is instated in your city. Once the containment area is in force, your local council has the authority to block all applications for a maximum of one year. The defined containment areas are re-evaluated every two years.
On 10 July 2019 Porto City council voted in favour on new regulations for the Alojamento Local.
The new Alojamento Local regulations introduces four major changes:
1 - Greater accountability of Alojamento Local hosts:
When you submit your application to the Registo Nacional de Alojamento Local (RNAL) you need to guarantee that your property has a proper connection to the public water supply network; as well as the installation of safety devices, including a fire extinguisher and a "fire blanket”; an emergency plan; civil liability insurance. If you provide "false information", the city council can sue you, says Ricardo Valente, responsible for the Economy, Tourism and Trade Sector.
2 - Introduction of an Alojamento Local Mediator:
This is a measure "unprecedented worldwide", said Ricardo Valente, who also highlighted the positive effect of the Alojamento Local on the local economy and the "positive economic impact" that it has in the city, considering that the average stay in this accommodation type is (5.2 days), much higher than the hotel units (2.2 days). The functions of the mediator are expressed in the regulation of Alojamento Local proposal. ‘There will be "one mediator per parish", and probably more than one in Porto’s Historical Center states Valente.
3 - Implementation of a Code of Conduct and Good Practices Guidelines
Airbnb users will have to comply with the guidelines set out by Porto City Council for the cities Short-Term Rentals Code of Conduct and Good Practices.
4 - Determining the duration of your Alojamento Local Licence with the RNAL
Two groups of Alojamento Local have been created with different restrictions in place. The two groups are “Tourist Areas of Sustainable Exploration” and the “Tourist Conditional Zones”. Within the latter group, three areas are further subdivided: Conditioned Containment Area, Areas of Preventative Containment and Areas of Contingent Containment.
Conditioned Containment Area
Areas of Preventative Containment
Areas of Contingent Containment
Áreas de Contenção do Porto. Fonte: ALEP, 31 Maio 2019, Situação do Regulamento Municipal para o Alojamento Local. Slideshare.
The Council emphasised that the new regulations are not to create a containment area with the intent to forbid Alojamento Local in Porto but to spread the offer of short-term rentals across the city.
Despite the new restrictions, homeowners can still apply for a short-term license in the different containment areas if their property meets one of the following conditions:
- A building, unit in the building or a residential property that has been listed vacant for more than three years, or;
- has recently been refurbished in the last two years, improving the overall state of the building, or; when a property use has recently been changed from commercial to residential or professional services.
- If it is a new build that has been built on the site of a previously demolished property that was in poor condition or at risk of collapse.
- When the short-term rental licence is for letting out a room.
The above exceptions do not apply if the property has been let out to a long-term rental tenant in the last three years. By January 2020, the new Alojamento Local regulations are expected to be fully in effect
Applying for the Alojamento Local licence in 3 steps
Step 1 - Register with the Finanças
For this step, you will need the following documents and information:
- An Identification Document
- Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF)
- The expected income of the business activity
- The anticipated start date of the business activity
- Property address (if this is not the same as your tax address)
First and foremost, you need a NIF - Número de Identificação Fiscal to carry out any official activity in Portugal. To apply for a NIF from abroad, you can get a temporary NIF number from an attorney based in Portugal who agrees to act on your behalf. If you are not an EEA citizen and are applying for Portuguese residency through the Golden Visa programme, you can apply for a Portuguese NIF number at the same time. Find out more about getting a NIF here.
Once you have your NIF you can register with the Finanças. This will allow you to legally earn an income on the short-term rental market with your property in Portugal.
Deciding on your Legal Entity
There are two ways you can be taxed in Portugal if you want to operate an Alojamento Local. You will need to decide if you want to operate your short-term within the Regime Simplificado, Empresário em Nome Individual, where you can manage your accounting up till 200,000 euros in annual gross revenue. Or as a private limited company, Regime de Contabilidade Organizada, which requires you to hire a Técnico Oficial de Contas to review and sign-off on your economic activities.
If you choose to operate as a Regime de Contabilidade Organizada, a certified accountant will guide you through the Portuguese taxing system. This document has been written to provide guidance for the Regime Simplificado: You have to register for taxes as a Category B Rendimentos empresariais e profissionais of the Imposto sobre o Rendimento de Pessoas Singulares (IRS).
Did you know?
Within the Regime Simplificado, the total income of a property will fall under the tax Category B where 35% of the income is taxed at 28%. The remaining 65% is not subject to tax as this is seen as part of the operating costs.
If your property generates € 1000 within one tax year, you will need to pay tax on € 350 (35%) at a 28% tax rate (2019)4:
€ 1000 × 35% = € 350 (taxable income)
€ 350 × 28% = € 98 (tax payable to IRS)
€ 1000 - € 98 = € 902 (tax free income)
How to register your business at the local tax authority
Follow these steps to open an economic activity with the Regime Simplificado in the Finanças portal:
1. Set-up and login to [Portal das Finanças]
The first step is complete. You should now be registered with the Finanças and can move forward to step two and apply for your Alojamento Local license at the Balcão Único Eletrónico.
Step 2 - Register your Alojamento Local
Required Information & Documents:
Once your business is registered with the Portuguese Tax Authority you can apply for the Alojamento Local licence8. To apply for the licence, you need to compile the following information and documents to send to the Câmara Municipal:
You can download an overview of the checklist here.
Once you have all the documents and information compiled that you need to process your application for your Alojamento Local licence, you can start your application online.
Please note: The size of all files (form and attachments) cannot exceed 2MB.
A. To get started access to the Balcão Único Eletrónico through Portal da Empresa.
To complete this step online you will need your Cartão de Cidadão, Digital Key or an Online Certificate from a Lawyer, Solicitor or Notary. Alternatively, you can submit a European Digital Certificate. To submit the registration you need to have a card reader to use the Citizen Card. Further, you will need the following documents and information to complete your registration successfully:
An autorização de utilização is a legal document issued by the city council of the property that defines the type of use allowed for a particular building or dwelling. This document certifies that the property or rental unit meets all legal health & safety requirements, to be used, whether for residential or other purposes, related to any branch of activity.
To obtain this document, you must go to the local city hall. The contact details for Porto’s city council can be found below:
Câmara Municipal do Porto | www.cm-porto.pt Praça General Humberto Delgado, n.º 266, 4000-286 Porto Phone: +351 222 090 400 (Monday to Friday: 9:00 - 17:00)
As the liable person, you are responsible for the safekeeping of the property, ensuring that your guests are aware of rules and regulations. You are also responsible, along with your guest - regardless of culpability - for damages caused to the building.
If the accountable person is not the property owner, he or she must sign an agreement that gives them the authorisation to act on behalf of the property owner.
- Estabelecimento de Hospedagem
In order to standardise information, the counting of beds (fixed or convertible) and guests in Alojamento Local properties, namely in hostels with bunk beds, should be carried out as follows
1 single bed = 1 bed = 1 guests 1 double bed = 1 bed = 2 guests 1 single bunk = 2 beds = 2 guests 1 double bunk = 2 beds = 4 guests
Please Note: Although getting a third party liability insurance is a required step to obtain your Alojamento Local licence this requirement has only recently been introduced. At the moment, there is no standard policy in place in Portugal to cover an Alojamento Local under the third party liability insurance policy. To help pick an insurance company that is right for you we recommend you to speak to a member of our team.
Caution: Please be aware that when presenting the urban building document, it must have been obtained from the Portuguese Tax Authority within the last 6 months. In case there are multiple owners of the property you will have to present a signed Comodato between all the parties (download here)[https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MACxy046OkV4ntPr8H35mvRCEBsBw06b/view].
To register as a Alojamento Local is free of charge and can be completed online through the Balcão Único eletrónico. Alternatively, to make the request in person, go to the Gabinete do Munícipe. Please address the application to Presidente da Câmara.
It takes 10 to 20 business days to process an application. Once your application has been approved a número de Alojamento Local will be sent to your registered address. Once you have received your registration number you will be able to list your property on booking platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com. Most bookings platforms today will request the registration number in order to list your property on their platform. The registration number needs to be displayed with all online and offline promotional activities related to the property.
Did you know?
Lojas de Cidadão and many municipalities provide mediated assistance to support the registration.
Help! I can’t submit my request online
If you have issues processing your application online, you can submit your application at your local city council. Once the online issues are resolved the city council will assign a registration number within 5 days. If the registration is submitted in paper form to the City Council, the original document of the terms of responsibility subscribed by the owner are kept on file.
The Municipality of Porto offers Mediated Service regarding requests/communications regarding the area of the municipality of Porto, at the following times: Monday to Friday, from 9:00 AM. to 12:00 PM. and from 2.30 PM to 4.30 PM., by appointment.
Gabinete do Munícipe, Room 8
Câmara Municipal do Porto | www.cm-porto.pt
Praça do General Humberto Delgado, n.º 266
Customer Service by Phone: +351 222 090 400 (Monday to Friday - 9:00 am - 5:00 p.m.)
Customer Service Online: Contact Us
Customer Service Office hours: Monday-Friday - 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM; on Wednesday extended opening hours - 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM from October- May.
To track the status of your application visit the National Registry of Alojamento Local website.
What to do if your application is rejected
There are a few reasons why your application might be rejected by your local city council.
- Information provided was incorrect
- Violation of defined regulations: in case of a containment area previously - identified by the city council or temporary registration stop.
- Use Class of the property
If your application is not approved after your first attempt you can re-submit your request after making the necessary adjustments that led to the rejection of your application. Please note, the platform might not highlight missing or incorrect information. This can cause you to resubmit the application multiple times before getting approved.
Let GuestReady help
Did you know that the Alojamento Local registration can be carried out by a third party? If you wish a representative to manage the application process, you will need to give them power of attorney. For more information, get in touch by giving us a call at +351 308 801 468 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You completed the second step of this journey! You are ready to move on to the third and final step of this guide. Please make sure you meet the general and safety requirements before you can welcome your first guests to your Alojamento Local.
Step 3 - Ensure you meet the General and Safety Requirements
Download the mandatory general and safety requirements checklist here
Properties that operate as Alojamento Locals must meet the following regulations:
Hold adequate conditions of conservation and operation of facilities and equipment such as the Alojamento Local kit, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, fire blanket, identification plate and complaints book
Be connected to the public water supply system or provide a private water supply system from an official approved source
Be connected to the public sewer system or equipped with septic tanks designed for the maximum capacity of the property
Have access to hot and cold running water
Have a window or balcony with direct access to the outside to ensure proper ventilation
All furniture provided in the dwelling should meet minimum health & safety regulations;
Window blinds or light blocking system should be in place and operational
Have doors equipped with a security system that ensures the privacy of the users
Sanitary facilities must have a security system that guarantees privacy
Property can be easily be cleaned and meets general health and safety standards
Note: In the case of "Hostels" the regulations around operational requirements and conditions have not yet been published.
Documents and information on mandatory posting in each AL.
To meet Portugal’s security standards, you have the responsibility as a landlord to ensure that the following information and signs are visibly displayed in your Alojamento Local. The below guidelines are here to help you meet the local guidelines set out by the Portuguese government.
National Emergency Number
According to the Alojamento Local legislation, the national emergency number (112) must be indicated in a place visible to guests.
Provide information about your closest Centro de Arbitragem Arbitration Centers
Livro de Reclamações (Complaint Book) physical and electronic format and affix its cover page
It is compulsory for all suppliers of goods or service providers to have physical and electronic complaints book available. The cover page, which is sold together with each complaints book, should be displayed in the property in a prominent place. You will need to ensure that the cover page is filled in with the following information:
Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca nº73, 1269-274 Lisboa
Where to Buy: Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda
In all Alojamento Locals, an information book must be made available to guests in Portuguese, English and at least two other foreign languages including the rules and information about:
Collection and selection of municipal waste
Operation of household appliances
Noise and how to keep it at a minimum in order to respect the peace and rest of the neighbourhood
Point of contact
In case the property has common areas, the rules and regulations laid by the building management about the use of the common areas need to be visibly displayed.
Fire extinguisher and user manual
Fire blanket and user manual
Photoluminescent warning signs
The following warning signs are mandatory for all Alojamento Local to display in their property:
- Accommodations with a capacity of more than 10 people will have to adopt fire safety measures that include extra signage and safety equipment in addition to those presented here.
Please note: Fire warning signals need to be placed at 2 meters height to meet Portugal's health and safety standards. It is recommended to place the fire extinguishing instructions at 1.40 meters height. See image below.
Please Note: The fire extinguishing blanket needs be placed at a distance from the stove that does not exceed an arm’s reach. The photoluminescent signal should be placed 2 meters high, above the blanket.
The Autoridade Nacional de Proteção Civil is the entity that is responsible to audit commercial and residential properties to ensure that they comply with the Segurança Contra Incêndios em Edifícios. To comply, you will need to ensure that the following items are present in your property to meet Portugal’s Segurança Contra Incêndios em Edifícios:
- A fire extinguisher: the ABC Chemical Powder (6kg) or the Additive Water (5kg).
- A fire blanket
- The National Civil Protection Authority recommends to ensure to post fire safety measures and protocols in public areas of the building.
First aid kit
According to the indications of the Direcção Geral de Saúde, the minimum contents of a first-aid kit / box, marked with an appropriate label: a white cross on a green background, should include:
Antiseptic solution (single dose);
Ethyl alcohol 70% (single dose);
Blunt point scissors;
Latex disposable gloves.
Signage of the First Aid Box
The white cross sign on a green background may be placed directly in the first aid box if it is visible.
The 2008 Tobacco Law obliges all spaces that provide public services and who do not comply with the technical specifications of the smoke venting systems to put up a NO SMOKING sign.
Alcohol - Sale and Consumption
Although it is not common in an Alojamento Local to sell alcohol to guests you can sell alcoholic beverages with a licence. To sell alcohol to guests you will need to obtain a premises licence and display the relevant documentation and notices associated with the sale of alcoholic beverages in public view.
Arbitration Association Centers
Centro de Arbitragem, a (Centro de Arbitragem de Conflitos de Consumo)
It is not required by law to visibly display information about an arbitration centre in your registered Alojamento Local. Nor is it mandatory to join an arbitration association to help resolve consumer disputes. If you wish to join an arbitration association, we recommend that you display the address of an arbitration association centre nearest to your Alojamento Local:
Porto Consumption and Arbitration Information Center
Rua Damião de Góis, 31, Loja 6, 4050-225, Porto +351 22 550 83 49 / +351 22 502 97 91 +351 22 502 61 09 email@example.com Hours: Monday to Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
If the Alojamento Local is in an area with more than one Arbitration Center, you can choose the one nearest to you or refer to several Arbitration Centers.
Within 30 days after submitting your short-term rental application online the city council will book an appointment with you to audit your property against Portugal's legal health & safety requirements. The audit may also be carried out by the Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica (ASAE) and the competent city council, and, upon request of the ASAE, Turismo de Portugal IP can also be requested to verify your properties compliance with the law
Short Let Advertising Regulations
Identification and advertising
The name or logo and the registration number needs to be displayed in ALL advertising, commercial documentation and merchandising of the Alojamento Local. As an Alojamento Local operation, you are not permitted to promote your business as a tourist entity.
DO NOT falsely advertise your short-term rental to the public by promoting features that the property does NOT have or by suggesting that you operate a licenced touristic entity, such as a hotel or tourist village
Only lodgings which meet the requirements laid down for this purpose may use the name 'hostel'.
The property types Estabelecimento de Hospedagem and Quartos may use the term "bed & breakfast" or "guest house" commercially.
All Alojamento Local must display an identification plate.
Model and characteristics of identification plates
Transparent, extruded and polished acrylic material, 10 mm thick, with the following characteristics:
Dimension of 200 mm × 200 mm;
Arial 200 font, dark blue in color (pantone 280);
Application with a distance of 50 mm from the wall (using stainless steel screws in each corner: 8 mm in diameter and 90 mm in length).
You can order an Identification plate from any supplier as long as the plate meets the above specifications. You can buy the plate here
Where to display the Identification plate:
In Estabelecimento de Hospedagem, Apartamento and Quartos, the identification plate needs to be visibly displayed at the entrance of the property.
In a Hostel, the identification plate needs to be displayed on the exterior wall of the property in the vicinity of the main entrance.
Final considerations for Property Managers
It is important to know what your regular obligations will be now that you have started operating an Alojamento Local. Please find an overview of your regular obligations below:
Taxa Municipal Turística
The Taxa Municipal Turística is a ‘contribution fee’ every overnight guest have to pay to the local municipality. The owner of the Alojamento Local is responsible to collect the fee from guests and pay this to the city council. The fee is used towards strengthening the city’s security, investing in its cultural offerings and improve its public spaces.
Porto collects a 2 EURO TMT fee per night for up to seven nights per guest above the age of 13. No VAT is applied to the TMT tourist tax fee.
Did you know?
Airbnb automatically collects this fee via its platform on behalf of landlords. But be careful, not all booking platforms provide this service and require owners to manage the monthly or quarterly payments to the city council via the online platform.
Communication to the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) borders and foreigners agency
The Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) has made it mandatory for everyone who offers accommodation to paying foreign national(s) to notify the SEF within three working days of the arrival of their guest(s). There are three ways to share guest arrival information with the SEF:
Online, directly via the Sistema de Informação de Boletins de Alojamento’s (SIBA) accommodation bulletin information system online portal
In person by submitting the guest information via the Accommodation bulletin in a SEF delegatio at the Loja do Cidadão.
In person, when there is no SEF you can submit the guest information to the Guarda Nacional Republicana or the Polícia de Segurança Pública.
To set-up an account on the SEF portal please follow the below instructions and allow up to 48 hours for your registration to be processed
How to Register with the SEF
Create an account on the Sistema de Informação de Boletins de Alojamento (SIBA) website. You will be asked to complete a form and once submitted, please allow up to 48 hours for your application to be processed. Once your application is approved you will receive an activation key in your email inbox.
It is a legal obligation to collect a copy of your guest ID and share their information with the SEF within 3 working days.
Your Tax Obligations
It is important to understand your tax obligations as a Empresário em Nome Individual operating an Alojamento Local in Portugal. Please find an overview of your tax obligations below:
Issue a receipt up to 5 days after a reservation is confirmed, or 5 days after check-in.
If you do not submit invoices directly into the tax authority’s online portal, you are required to send all receipts that were issued the previous month as a SAF-T file before the 15th of each calendar month.
If you are not exempt you are required to submit a VAT return at the end of each month. If you are VAT exempt, we recommend checking if you have invoices with a reverse charge. You can claim back tax for these invoices in the following month by:
The submission of the Modelo 30 has to be completed by the second month following that in which the payment occurs from your short let. It should be noted that if you do not have the Modelo RFI21 of the entities to which you make payments, you will be taxed at 25%
If you are registered as a Regime de Contabilidade Organizada, we recommend that you speak to your certified accountant.
You completed all the steps of this guide!
- You registered with the Finanças
- You registered your Alojamento Local
- Audited your short let against Portugal's health and safety standards
You should now have a good understanding of all the regular legal and tax obligations of short-term rentals. Once your Alojamento Local licence is approved, it's time to promote your property and welcome your first guests!
Property Management Services
- Decree-Law No. 128/2014, of August 29, amended by Decree-Law No. 63/2015 of April 23↩
- when the number of users is higher than the number of users in a room↩
- Law nr 62/2018↩
- See more here: http://info.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt/pt/apoio_contribuinte/tabela_ret_doclib/Pages/default.aspx↩