Hundreds of people took to the streets protesting against short term holiday tourist rentals in Lisbon last weekend.
Lusa news agency reported that slogans such as ‘Rein in rents, stop expulsions’ and ‘enough tourism rentals’ were brandished by those taking part in the Lisbon march against short term rentals promoted by websites such as Airbnb. There was also a smaller demonstration against short term rentals in the northern city of Porto.
Ana Gago of the ‘Stop despejos’ (stop expulsions) pressure group, explained: ‘People are becoming increasingly aware of the extent of the problem – but political measures are needed to turn things around.’
Marchers called for the authorities to reduce the number of properties that are being taken from the long-term rental market to be used in more lucrative short term rental tourist market. It is estimated by the protest’s organisers that around 15,000 properties are being repurposed in such a way towards the tourist trade solely in Lisbon.
A similar scenario in other cities, such as the French capital of Paris, has also led to similar protests against short term rentals. This month the Paris city council member in charge of housing said he would propose outlawing rentals via Airbnb and other similar websites.
Business daily Jornal de Negocios claims that around a third of apartments in Lisbon’s historic centre have been given over to tourism. The former conservative government introduced measures during the 2011 financial crisis to attract overseas property investors to the Portuguese real estate sector with legislation such as the Golden Visa. However, the current socialist administration is not aiming to overturn such measures.
After the financial crisis real estate prices in Portugal grew significantly, adding 5.6 percent in 2015-2016 and then another 9.2 percent last year. This is according to a recent report by Spain’s Caixabank.