The recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice (STJ) came to shuffle the accounts and business of Local Accommodation (AL) in the country, preventing the installation of short-term accommodation in permanent housing of horizontal property.
The president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Resorts of the Algarve (AHETA) has already reacted to this decision, pointing out from the outright that the Algarve will be one of the "main affected regions".
In the judgment of the Full Civil Sections of the Supreme Court of 22 March, to which Lusa had access, it can be read that, " under the regime of horizontal ownership, the indication in the constitutive title that a certain fraction is intended for housing must be interpreted as not being local accommodation is allowed."
This means that the prohibition on installing this type of temporary accommodation in apartments in a horizontally owned building is at stake.
One third of LA in the Algarve are in horizontal ownership
Now, from the perspective of Hélder Martins, the president of AHETA, this decision will affect an "old practice, much prior to current regulation", in a region that has more than one third of the total AL in horizontal ownership.
"Of the 101,534 local accommodationregistered in Portugal, 65,750 are in apartment mode, of which 25,000 are in the district of Faro," explains the president of AHETA. Accounts done, it means two things:
- About 38% of the total local accommodation in Portugal is apartments, being therefore in horizontal ownership ;
- about 25% of the total al apartments in Portugal are located in the Algarve.
Although in the Algarve the disputes between owners and holders of local accommodation operation are less expressive than in Lisbon and Porto (...), the figures prove that we are the main affected with this judgment", concludes Hélder Martins.
This judgment "reveals a total ignorance on the subject and calls into question the whole sector", also colliding with the provisions of the General Regulation of Urban Buildings (RGEU), warns.
Switching from housing to commercial use is "unenforceable"
"The obligation to change the use provided for in the constitutive title of horizontal property, obliging fractions that wish to carry on the activity of the local accommodation to no longer have a housing use, collides with a set of rules contained in the RGEU, without which a property or fraction cannot function as local accommodation", argued further.
For Hélder Martins, these requirements "do not exist in fractions intended for trade and services, since they have neither the necessary kitchens, nor the bathrooms, nor the bedrooms, so what the judgment determines is, in practice, unfeasible."
AHETA also recalled that a "change to the law made in 2018 (Law 62/2018 of August 22)" already provided for "mechanisms to resolve these cases of conflict between condominiums and local housing owners in a simple, fast and free way", stressing that the numbers of cases in court are "residual" and have been "less than 50 since 2018".
Article published in the idealist