With the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism was severely affected. Due to social isolation, suspension of flights and cruises, canceled reservations, travel bans and the lack of tourists in the country, hotels and restaurants suffered notable falls, as did the local accommodation sector (AL).
There are about 55 thousand families and micro-enterprises that live directly from the LA sector. Not being able to survive the six months affected by the crisis, many have already gone bankrupt and those who remain are struggling to find solutions and face this period of uncertainty and buy time to face the next challenges in the sector.
Although medium-term leasing is a more limited market, this was the solution found by many homeowners to withstand the crisis. However, here the obstacle created by capital gains is raised.
According to the State Budget 2020, the capital gains in the AL ended only for those who move to the long-term rental market, that is, the property must remain on the traditional lease for at least five consecutive years. On the other hand, for those who intend to give up the activity or in the middle of the five years need the property, either for their own use or for another purpose, the added value is applied.
There is an urgent need for a change in this law that allows greater flexibility for owners who intend to abandon this business area. The surplus value should only be paid in case the property is sold.
With the country practically stagnant and with no short-term prospects for the return of foreign tourists, the only light at the end of the tunnel for the approximately 93.400 local accommodations registered in the country, which represent practically 40% of overnight stays, is the national market during the summer. The market that has only improved in some coastal areas, in urban areas remains stagnant.
The fight against rising rent prices and real estate speculation and the promise of affordable rental homes is one of the PS's flags at the Lisbon City Council (CML). The promised Affordable Income Program as a public pillar, with the provision of three thousand dwellings, greater protection for municipal tenants and investment in the rehabilitation of municipal neighborhoods, has never gone beyond paper.
Fernando Medina also promised this executive to provide six thousand affordable houses and 20 thousand in the long term for young people and middle-class families, a successively unsuccessful promise.
Since the center of Lisbon has been largely rehabilitated by the owners of LA, and the sector is now completely paralyzed, it is a case of asking the president of the CML to clarify the reason for such great reticence in taking the step towards an obvious measure - encourage the passage of properties in LA for long-term leasing, contributing to this with tax benefits and the suspension of capital gains.
The owners and Lisboners won long ago from the center due to the rent of prohibitive values.