Are you a property owner looking into short-term rental? Portugal is a sought-after destination for holidays and short-term stays. With its historic charm, excellent location, popular attractions, and easy access to other Schengen Areas, owning apartments for rent in any of Portugal’s cities can generate passive income year-round.

In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know to start your short-term rental operation, from registration to obtaining your short-term rental license (Licença de Alojamento Local).

How to Acquire a Short-term Rental License

Owning homes or apartments for rent in Lisbon is an excellent opportunity to generate income.

However, before you rent your property, you must follow specific guidelines and processes to comply with Portugal’s short-term rental laws.

First, you must apply for a license to operate as an Alojamento Local (AL).This lets you legally advertise and operate as a short-term rental property on markets such as Airbnb or Established in 2014, this regulation was called the Local Lodging Regime (Alojamento Local Regime).

You must register your property as touristic rental accommodation with your local town hall (Câmara).

How to register

Tax-Regime-POrtugalTo officially register, you need to:

  • Open an activity on the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority portal and register a new activity with CAE 55201 or 55204.
  • Register a local accommodation number by going to the RNAL website and submitting documents such as the property’s land register, your Citizen Card, and proof of opening activity with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority.
  • Meet the inspection requirements within 30 days after the registration of your Alojamento Local. Inspections by your local Municipal Council can then take place. You’re required by law to have a fire extinguisher, fire blanket, first aid kit, a house instruction booklet in four languages, information about the availability of a complaints book, and an acrylic identification plate reading “AL.”

Following on from registering, you need to ensure that you:

  • Issue invoicing receipts for all the bookings you receive through the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority (Finanças) portal, sending them to guests within five days.
  • Submit mandatory data to AIMA (former Foreigners and Borders Service SEF), such as your guest’s name, ID card number, nationality, and travel information.
  • Collect Tourist Taxes and pay them to your local City Council.

All short-term rental properties must be registered (with some exceptions). These properties are called “Alojamento Local” or AL. They can be in a house, in a short-term apartment rental in Portugal, or in lodging establishments like hostels or dormitories. The ultimate service that an AL establishment provides is temporary accommodation in return for a determined price.

If you want to operate an Airbnb, you can simplify the registration process by:

  • Going to “your listings” on
  • Clicking on your listing in Portugal
  • Clicking on the registration button at the top of the page
  • Following the instructions to register
  • Clicking on the “submit” button

If applicable, you must repeat the same process for all your listings in Portugal. If you’ve already registered, you can complete the five steps above to add an existing permit number to your listing. You don’t have to renew the registration unless your listing or registration details change.

If there are any changes, you must notify the relevant Portuguese authorities within ten days and update your property listing on Airbnb accordingly. The registration process is free of charge.

Required documents

e2 visa document checklistYou must show the following documents or information to the Portuguese authorities:

  • The name, address, and NIF (Portuguese tax number) of the owner or person who will carry out the activity
  • The activity start date
  • The property capacity (the number of beds, rooms, and guests)
  • A valid authorization of the use of the property
  • Emergency contact details
  • Your residency’s name and address
  • Your passport, ID, and company documents
  • The land registry document
  • A signed declaration that states that your real estate is a suitable AL establishment
  • Lease agreement, deeds, or other documents that entitle you to rent your property
  • Declaration of Tax Activity (Declaração de Início de Atividade) CAE 55201 or 552014

What are short-term rental containment zones?

Lisbon City Council introduced short-term rental containment zones in 2019, limiting the areas where AL licenses can be granted. This was in response to problems such as an oversaturation of AL properties in certain regions.

Areas in Lisbon like Alfama, Bairro Alto, Baixa, Graça, and Mouraria cannot receive any more AL registrations.

What are the differences between short-term, monthly, and long-term rentals?

There is no strict minimum or maximum number of nights the property can be rented out to be considered an AL establishment. Holiday rentals in Portugal are usually offered for short periods of time. To understand the differentiations between the rental options, here is a short guideline:

AL properties

AL properties must be fully furnished and are generally situated in areas that have easy access to historical sites, popular attractions or a short distance away from public transport. Each of these aspects allows for an enjoyable stay.

Long-term rentals

Long-term rentals can also be apartments for rent but do not have to come fully furnished. However, previous tenants may sometimes leave furniture or appliances behind. Property rented for a year has its own legislation and lease (rental contract) requirements to adhere to long-term rentals laws.

Monthly rentals

Monthly rentals can also be serviced apartments for rent and are usually furnished with a fully equipped kitchen and might have other amenities such as Wi-Fi, free parking, or even easy access to a swimming pool.

If you are considering leasing your real estate as a monthly rental, you are not required to have an AL permit. Renting your properties monthly is an excellent way to get around the AL suspension zones.

Depending on the time of year, monthly rentals may be less profitable than short-term rentals. They might also be challenging to occupy regularly, as the demand is usually reserved for clients moving regions for work, people seeking medical treatment, digital nomads, people completing an artist’s residency, etc.

Monthly rentals may be more straightforward to set up than an AL property, but you might still need to draw up a rental contract.

Touristic Enterprises

portugal-best-cities-to-liveYour short-term rental may be classified as a touristic enterprise. Examples of touristic enterprises are:

  • Hotels, including bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, and inns
  • Holiday villages
  • Resorts
  • Touristic apartments 
  • Caravan sites and campsites
  • Tourism enterprises in rural areas

Touristic enterprises are ruled under a specific legal regime called the Regime Jurídico da Instalação, Exploração e Funcionamento dos Empreendimentos Turísticos. This applies to establishments that are providing accommodation services in exchange for remuneration. 

For them to be operational, the establishments must have an appropriate set of facilities, equipment, and complementary services such as room service or a fully equipped kitchen on site to adhere to guidelines and promote an enjoyable stay. 

Local Accommodation Requirements

Local accommodation units have to meet the following requirements:

  • There cannot be more than nine bedrooms
  • Your property cannot accommodate more than 30 people unless it’s a hostel
  • The property must be in good condition, including its electronic installations and equipment 
  • The property must be connected to the public water supply and public sewage network
  • The property must have working tap water
  • The property needs to have at least one window or balcony in order to allow proper ventilation.
  • The property must come fully furnished (including kitchen utensils)
  • Short-term rental apartments, rooms, and houses in Portugal must contain at least one toilet for every four rooms (or for every ten guests)
  • Unisex private bathrooms used by several rooms must have a door with a lock to ensure privacy.
  • There must be at least one toilet, a washbasin, and a shower for every six guests sharing common sanitary facilities
  • Houses and apartments that have more than ten users will need to comply with the fire safety rules 
  • A check-in reception service (a check-in and check-out process), which can be carried out in person, by telephone, or electronically
  • An explanation of house rules with all the necessary information
  • Local accommodation establishments need to provide a means of communication with the reception service
  • Local accommodation operators have to cooperate with national authorities in collating and providing data related to the number of users, overnight stays, and other data required for statistical purposes.

You can find more details on the Diário da República Eletrónico (DRE) website.

Taxation on Your Local Accommodation Activity

Income Tax

All short-term rental activity profits will be taxed in the B category. Two potential tax regimes could be applicable.

Simplified Regime (Regime Simplificado)

You can choose the simplified regime if you earn less than €200,000 from your local accommodation activity.

Suppose you choose the simplified regime. The taxable profit is calculated using a 35 percent rate applied to hotel services and similar activities. The other 65 percent will be considered running costs and will not be taxed.

Organized accounts

If you earn profits of more than €200,000 a year from your local accommodation activity, the organized accounts regime applies. Corporation tax (IRC) rules will determine your taxable profits.

Corporation Tax

Standard corporation tax rules mean that a fixed rate of 21 percent applies to all earned profits.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Local accommodation activity is considered a service provider. It is, therefore, subject to a reduced VAT of 6 percent, applicable to accommodation and breakfast costs.

However, if you’re on the simplified regime and your annual income is less than €10,000, you can claim a VAT exemption.

If you are not exempt from VAT, you must pay this tax through periodic VAT returns. These can be monthly or quarterly, depending on whether the activity turnover is more or less than €650,000. The return is submitted through the “Portal das Finanças.”

How Can We Help You Find Your Dream Property?

Goldcrest Real Estate is the first buyer’s agent in Portugal, providing you with a tailor-made service to find your ideal property in Portugal. From sourcing to acquisition and aftercare, Goldcrest guides you throughout the buying process.

Here's how Goldcrest stands out in making your property dreams come true:

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Goldcrest has offices throughout Portugal, ensuring a strong presence from the mainland to the Azores and Madeira.

INDEPENDENT SERVICE: Goldcrest don’t represent any specific development or project, ensuring their advice remains impartial. By objectively analyzing every opportunity, Goldcrest focuses on maximizing your investment prospects. They partner with various agents, sellers, promoters, and developers, ensuring a broad spectrum of property options. The goal is straightforward: To help you find the best property at the most favorable price, whether you're buying or renting.

STREAMLINED PROCESS: Goldcrest provides a dedicated real estate consultant paired with a top-notch client management system for smooth information exchange. With the aid of advanced technology, like metasearch tools, they guarantee expansive market coverage. Goldcrest's viewing itineraries are tailored to your needs, and they're always ready to assist, be it in-person or on your behalf. When it comes to pricing, they use data-driven analysis to ensure you get the best deal. And, to make your journey smoother, Goldcrest assigns a dedicated onboarding account manager for every client.

ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOLUTION: Navigating financial aspects? Goldcrest is here to guide you through finance options and manage the required documentation. If you need property management solutions or connections to builders, architects, designers, and gardeners, they have you covered. Relocating? Their concierge services are designed to assist in everything, from securing accommodations to handling utility connections.

TRANSPARENCY AND PRIVACY: Goldcrest operates with a commitment to GDPR compliance, ensuring your data is protected. Expect a clear and detailed pricing model without any hidden surprises. Plus, they provide independent due diligence services to ensure every decision you make is informed.

What are the best locations for short-term rental units in Portugal?

Here are some articles we’d suggest reading to help you make an informed decision:

However, there are many other desirable locations in Portugal that could be excellent options, such as Braga, Comporta, or the Silver Coast.

What is the Cost of Living in Lisbon?

To learn more about the cost of living in Lisbon, the following articles may also interest you:

Exploring Visa and Immigration Options for Portugal

If you're considering making the move to Portugal, it's essential to be informed about the various visa and residency options available. The Golden Visa Portugal program is an attractive option for many, offering residency to investors and their families. For those eyeing retirement in this beautiful country, the Retirement Visa (D7) is tailored for you. Digital nomads can take advantage of both short and long stay options with the Nomad Visa (D8). Meanwhile, the NHR - Non Habitual Tax regime provides significant tax benefits for new residents. 

For the entrepreneurial spirit, Portugal offers the Entrepreneurship/startup Visa (D2) - Start-up Visa (open company) tailored for those looking to establish their businesses in the country. Those with specialized skills can explore the Work visa for highly qualified employees (D3). Additionally, if you have Portuguese ancestry, you might be eligible for Citizenship by descent

However, moving to a new country isn't just about visas. If you're thinking of buying property, our guide on Buying Property in Portugal can offer invaluable insights. Dive deeper into the immigration process with our comprehensive Portugal immigration guide. For Americans specifically looking to relocate, we have curated information on Americans moving to Portugal. Lastly, one can't forget the importance of the NIF (Tax Registration Number), a crucial step in any relocation process. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Short-term Rentals in Portugal

How much are vacation rentals in Portugal?

The cost of vacation rentals in Portugal largely depends on the location, what kind of property you are looking to rent, and how much demand there is in that season. Lisbon is considerably more expensive than other Portuguese cities or towns. 

A monthly rental may be more affordable than short-term rental units, and you may be able to find cheaper vacation rentals by booking well ahead of your vacation.

Why should I choose a vacation rental in Portugal?

If you choose a vacation rental in Portugal, you’ll find many different types of properties in various beautiful locations.

Whether you are searching for vacation rentals with ocean views, a luxurious modern apartment, or a farmhouse somewhere in the countryside, there’s something for everyone. Plus, Portugal is usually more affordable than other Western European cities such as London or Paris. 

Can you rent a property for three months?

Yes, you can rent a property for three months. 

If you’re staying in a property for three months, you would be better off finding a monthly rental as most short-term rentals charge a higher price per night. However, you could try to negotiate a better monthly rental rate. 

How much does it cost to rent a house for a month in Portugal?

Well, that depends. The cost of renting a home in Portugal for a month is affected by location and the type of property you are renting.

As of 2023, a one-bedroom apartment in a city center could cost around €745.87, whereas a one-bedroom apartment outside of a city could cost about €589.29. Short-term rental apartments might be more expensive, as longer leases and monthly rentals tend to be more affordable.