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New Mediator will balance out Porto's short-term rental market

New Mediator will balance out Porto's short-term rental market

The new office will have the task of reconciling the interests of the various actors in the short-term rental market of the city

On 28 June, the City Council of Porto approved the proposal to create a new administrative position in the city, that of the Local Accommodation Mediator. This person will have the task to receive, analyse, study, balance out and report on the various interests, concerns and trends emanating from the different stakeholders involved in the city’s short-term rental market.

The term ‘Local Accommodation’ (or LA) in Portugal, specifically refers to property owners who have a registered license to rent accommodation facilities to tourists and visitors.

Currently, Porto has more than 7,500 LA licenses

Ricardo Valente, the Councillor for Economy and Tourism who proposed the creation of the new office, presented the most recent data on local accommodation in the city to the Municipal Executive, showing that there are currently 7,646 accommodation establishments registered, equivalent to 12,428 rooms and 23,969 beds.

2020 marks the first year in which we had a reduction in the net stock of LA licenses in the city, a reduction of close to 400 licenses,” revealed the councillor. Since not all licenses represent active ALs, with many waiting for the full reopening of the tourism sector, and not moving to the residential market, Mr Valente shared that "we have shown the Government that it makes no sense", referring to waiting for the accommodation facilities to adapt themselves to market needs.

In July 2019, Porto City Council voted on new rules and regulations for a so-called containment area in the city. These rules meant suspending all registrations of new LA licenses in areas where there is high demand pressure. This includes Porto’s historic centre and Bonfilm as well as some of the most popular streets such as Alfândega, Lóios, Mouzinho da Silveira, Flores, Aliados, Santa Catarina and Rua do Almada.

The role of the new Mediator

The two main objectives of the Municipality for the creation of the Local Accommodation Mediator are the centralization, facilitation and conciliation of the interests and needs of the city's residents and visitors, as well as of all interested parties, and the promotion of the well-being and good coexistence among all.

In addition to mediating between all those involved, among the functions of this new figure are also the reception and centralization of all complaints, presentations and requests, as well as the organization of information and awareness actions. At the end of each year, an activity report must be delivered, however, the City Council or the Municipal Assembly may also request clarification on any matter within the Mediator’s competence.

A Dossier on Local Accommodation will also be created with information related to the sector, determining the general conditions of use of the city, "something quite innovative", and defining the AL Code of Conduct and Good Living, with the collaboration of all stakeholders.

Considered “essential at this current moment”, the office may later be multiplied so that there will be a mediator in each of the city’s parishes.

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