Prior authorization of the condominium for AL in buildings is a “redundant, misleading and ineffective” measure

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The Movimento Referendo pela Habitação (Housing Referendum Movement), a group that
wants to hold a local referendum in Lisbon to prevent the existence of local housing in
apartment buildings, criticizes the PS proposal.

New registrations of local lod ging in residential buildings will now depend on the prior, unanimous authorization of the condominium to change the use for which these buildings are intended.

The measure, proposed by the Socialist Party (PS) in the scope of the discussion of the Mais Habitação (More Housing) package, and already strongly contested by local accommodation owners, is “redundant, misleading and inefficient”, just like the others that have been proposed in relation to the sector, argues the Movimento Referendo pela Habitação (Referendum for Housing Movement – MRH), a group that intends to hold a local referendum, in Lisbon, to prevent the existence of local lodgings in buildings intended for habitation.

At issue is a proposal to add to decree-law 128/2014, the legislation that regulates the
activity of local accommodation and to which the government wants to make several
changes, under the Mais Habitação legislative package, which is being discussed in
Parliament. This week, the PS parliamentary group came to propose new changes to this
law.

“Whenever the local accommodation establishment is registered in an autonomous
fraction of a building under horizontal property regime that is intended, in the constitutive title, to be a dwelling, the registration must be preceded by a decision of the
condominium for use other than the exercise of the local accommodation activity,” can
be read in the proposal of the socialists, which also determines that this prior decision
must have the agreement of all the condominium owners.

Thus, in practice, anyone who wants to operate a new local lodging will now be dependent on the unanimous authorization of the condominium, a change that will only apply to local lodging registrations made after the Mais Habitação program comes into effect.

Despite the fact that, if approved, this proposal will limit the possibilities of local accommodation exploration, MRH (Movimento Referendo pela Habitação) argues that it is redundant, taking into account the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice (STJ), issued last year, which, in practice, has already determined that the activity of local accommodation is not allowed in buildings intended for dwelling purposes. This ruling, it should be recalled, established that, under the horizontal property regime, “the indication in the constitutive title that a certain fraction is intended for dwelling purposes should be interpreted as meaning that local lodging is not allowed therein”.

Movimento Referendo pela Habitação https://referendopelahabitacao.pt/
Movimento Referendo pela Habitação https://referendopelahabitacao.pt/

Thus, the MRH argues, the State should “recognize” this decision by the STJ and enforce
it, “returning thousands of houses to their function: to be inhabited. And they consider
unnecessary proposals like the one now being presented by the PS and other parties.
“The MRH considers that the proposals that have been known are redundant, misleading
and ineffective, and that the discussions of the PS, PSD and IL regarding the limitation to
local accommodation have been hostage to the local accommodation and tourism lobby,
as well as the interests of large investors and real estate speculation, refusing to respond
to the serious housing crisis that the population faces,” says the movement, in statements
sent to PP.

Added to this is the fact that several buildings intended for residential use are in fact
already fully occupied by local housing, a common phenomenon in some parishes of
Lisbon, for example.

“In the National Register of Local Lodging, we can see that, in Lisbon, for example, we
have more than 180 companies with ten or more local lodging registrations, some of
them with hundreds of registrations. There are also hundreds of buildings practically or
entirely allocated to local lodging. This measure of the PS becomes completely ineffective
in these buildings of large owners who alienate houses that should be for housing”, says
the MRH.

There are also tenants living in buildings where there is local housing, but who “have, in
most cases, no say in the condominiums and cannot, themselves, decide on these
matters that affect them negatively.

“A constant embarrassment”

After the proposal now presented by the PS was known, the representatives of the local
accommodation sector hastened to condemn it, which they say will prohibit their activity
in the cities.

“It is a political decision to ban local accommodation in cities. Taking into account that
local accommodation, to a large extent, is done in residential buildings and that, in cities,
it is almost all of them, this means, in practice, the banning of local accommodation.
Everyone knows that the unanimity of the condominium is impossible”, said Eduardo
Miranda, president of the Association of Local Lodging in Portugal (ALEP), in statements
to Rádio Renascença.

As for the MRH, the fears of local accommodation owners highlight the negative impact
that this activity has on the population.

“This reaction shows how this association fears that the measure may create an excess of
democracy within condominiums, limiting the possibility of a condominium owner to
impose his will to open an AL against that of the others; more recognizes that AL is a
constant constraint in people’s everyday life, does not fulfill any social function, rather
deregulating the lives of the residents and does not create a sense of well-being in the
building and in the neighborhood.”

Born last year , by the hands of a group of citizens of Lisbon inhabitants, MRH is a popular and non-partisan group that intends to hold a local referendum in Lisbon to change the municipal regulation of local lodging in the capital. It has two goals: to make the STJ’s decision have practical application, with the cancellation of local lodging licenses on residential units, and to prevent new registrations on residential units.

In order to achieve the holding of a local referendum, 5000 signatures are needed from
people registered in Lisbon. According to the figures provided to PP, MRH has so
far collected 2717 signatures from Lisbon voters (a little more than half of what is needed
to demand the referendum), to which must be added another 1421 signatures from
people who are not registered in the Lisbon municipality, but who support the initiative.

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