Short-term rentals come with their own set of rules and regulations, and they’re often riskier ventures than long-term rentals for a number of reasons. It’s important to understand what you’re getting into before deciding to commit any resources to a short-term rental operation. This applies to Lisbon and pretty much everywhere else. But when it comes to Portugal in particular, there are some special points you need to consider.
Obligation to Register
Before you begin, you have to verify that the property you want to rent out has a valid rental license. If not, you will have to obtain one yourself. If you’re not the primary owner of the building, this could get problematic as you’ll have to coordinate this with other owners. There are also some recent legislative changes that can make the process even more complicated – more on that below.
You must also specifically register each of your short-term rental properties. This process is fairly simple and it’s something you can do on your own without any professional help. Make sure to get it started as early as possible to avoid any delays due to administrative processes.
Working with a professional partner like UpperKey can make the process significantly easier and relieve you of many of the burdens associated with it. You will just have to provide a basic outline of your situation and the rest will be handled for you.
Do I Need Any Additional Registrations?
If you intend to specifically use your property for short-term rental, registering it as a tourist rental at your town hall should be sufficient for most cases. There might be some specific situations that call for additional licenses, but those will be sorted out by the agency you’re working with in any case.
Stay on top of registration requirements to the best of your abilities. Don’t leave these issues until the last minute because the workload associated with them can pile up very fast.
No Short-term Rentals in Residential Buildings in the Future
Recent changes in the law have made it more difficult to offer short-term rentals in certain situations. The most notable development has been a blanket ban issued by the Supreme Court of Justice on all short-term rentals in buildings already used for permanent housing.
This means that you can’t offer any short-term rentals in a building that has permanent occupants already in place. It may be possible to have the entire building converted into a short-term rental place, but that’s highly unlikely for places with lots of occupants.
Another recent change you need to be aware of is an upper limit on the number of short-term rental properties owned by the same business entity within the same area of the country. This affects various parts of Portugal, in particular Lisbon. The City Council of Lisbon has already stated that they would stop issuing new rental licenses in several parts of the city.
If you’re in one of the affected areas, you must verify that you’re not violating any regulations with your intent to set up a short-term rental operation. Talk to your local administration to clarify the situation before making any further moves. Even if you are affected by a ban, you might still be able to find a reasonable workaround.
Know Your Rights – and Those of Your Tenants
Tenants in Portugal have various rights, and so do landlords. Many of those rights don’t actually extend to short-term rental deals, such as the mandatory two-month notice for cancelling a contract. It’s important to understand exactly what responsibilities you’re going to have towards your tenants before committing to this operation.
Keep in mind that, even with short-term rentals, you may find it difficult to cancel a contract on short notice. You must generally have a valid reason for that, following specific guidelines outlined by the law. For example, if you intend to use the property for yourself, this could be a good reason to cancel a contract prematurely. Make sure you’re not violating any other regulations. Always talk to a lawyer who specializes in rental situations to confirm.
Don’t underestimate the benefit of working with an experienced lawyer for this. It might seem like a significant expense when you’re just starting out, but in most cases, it will be a justified cost when you consider all the ways they will protect you against mishaps. Plus, you might learn a few new tricks that can help you simplify your operations even further.
Make Sure Your Finances Are in Order
Understanding your finances in detail is key to a successful rental operation, no matter if you’re aiming to provide short-term accommodation or long-term options. For example, many people are confused about how much funding they need to invest in new property. Talk to a specialist like UpperKey if you have doubts about that and make sure to follow their advice carefully.
Tax returns are another common problem. Even for a relatively simple rental operation, filing your taxes can still be quite complicated and requires a lot of intricate knowledge of the tax system. Filing an Airbnb tax return is another point that a service like Upper Key can assist you with. Even if you don’t work with Airbnb, you will still need to understand some specific points about filing your tax return if you want to do it safely and avoid attracting the attention of authorities.
How to Streamline the Process for Small Operations
One of the best ways to streamline all of this and to ensure that you’re on top of any regulations and other requirements is to work with a short-term rental agency. UpperKey understands this market better than anyone else, and they will easily help you navigate the process and ensure that you’re not missing any important points.
Talk to someone as early as possible to avoid any delays. In a country like Portugal, you can always expect a lot of competition due to the crowded rental market. This makes it important to contact potential business partners early on, as their schedules could be quite heavily packed, and they may be unable to service you on short notice.
As long as you keep those points in mind, short-term rentals can be quite a lucrative business in Lisbon. The market is full of opportunities as demand is constantly at a high level, and you’ll find no shortage of people interested in renting your properties. Just make sure that you don’t neglect your legal obligations. Portugal takes a firm stance in protecting tenants’ rights, and you must always do your best to understand the legal implications of every move you make in this market.