When an AL property is advertised or listed in any way, the AL registration number has to be published, according to the current legal requirements (Decreto-Lei n.º 128/2014, de 29 de agosto, updated by Lei n.º 62/2018, de 22 de agosto).
Article 17, Item 2 of the above law specifies that AL properties have to specify the name or logo and also the registration number in all publicity, commercial documentation and merchandise. This means that all listings or adverts on Airbnb, Booking, Facebook and elsewhere have to specify the AL name and registration number.
So, does this mean that listings with NO number (sometimes listed as “Exempt” on Airbnb, for example) are illegal?
Well, yes and no. I am 100% certain that the great majority of such listings are unregistered properties, with no AL number and operating outside the law, with no earnings declaration for tax purposes, etc. However, not ALL properties with no licence number are illegal – let’s see how.
Article 4, Item 2 of the law says that: AL activity is assumed if the unit is published in tour agents or online sites as temporary or tourist accommodation. However, the following Item (number 3) of the same Article reads: “A presunção referida no número anterior pode ser ilidida nos termos gerais de direito, designadamente mediante apresentação de contrato de arrendamento urbano devidamente registado nos serviços de finanças.”
(The assumption referred to in the previous Item may be voided if an urban rental contract is properly registered at the Finanças).
This means that non-AL properties can be published on sites like Airbnb (configured as “Exempt”) AS LONG AS the owner registers a contract with Finanças for any bookings. Such (long-term) contracts must mention that the stay is for transitory purposes, if it is for less than 1 year.
One final warning: not all properties with an AL registration number in sites like Airbnb are legitimate. Please click on the following link as an example of this:
So, as a client or tenant, how do you do some due diligence on the property before booking? Well, the Portugal Tourism Bureau maintains a database of all ALL registrations called the Registo Nacional de Turismo, available here:
Click on the Alojamento Local section, enter the AL number in the search box, and check to see if the number exists. If it does exist, you can click to see further details and check if the location corresponds correctly to the property, as well as other information.