THE rules keep changing, the goalposts keep shifting. If you have paying guests in Portugal you need accreditation.
Towards the end of 2009 we received, via email, notification from the Tourist Board that we needed an ‘Alojamento Local’ licence.
This was part of the Government’s new rental licensing law which specifically covered local lodgings, as opposed to the full classification and ‘star’ rating which governs the larger, usually hotel, properties.
Ours fell into the houses, apartments and guest houses first tier.
Requirements were things like floor plans, safety certificates for gas (bottled) and electrical installations, first aid kit, fire extinguishers, fire retardant blankets and so on.
One way or another we had most of these things but we weren’t sure if what we had met the spec. And when we went to the local Camara neither were they because all they had to check it against was a newly-issued legal booklet.
Still, they were as helpful as possible, given the lack of instruction they had received, other than the written word, so we attempted to comply, got everything we thought correct together, filled in the application forms and paid the fee(s).
Eventually we finally got inspected mid March and passed with flying colours. I’d asked our builder Heldre to attend in case there were any issues we couldn’t deal with but luckily there weren’t.
This was a result really, because legislation in Portugal is raised in Lisbon and as such reflects the needs and capacities of a large city but is imposed on the small locations in the same generalised manner.
For instance, the wiring to the casa (house) from our service hut at the rear of the property (electricity, gas, telephone etc) has got to include the provision for cable tv connection! Now the likelihood of this coming so far out into the sticks compares with Town’s chances of winning the Champions League any time soon! Likewise we have to have a tv and internet connection fitted and centrally connected in every room in the house.
It’s important in Portugal that you have a registered complaints book for the letting property but when we applied for one we couldn’t get it from the office in Beja without having the licence! Luckily good sense prevailed.
The good thing was that as long as property owners involved replied to the request and began the application process we were allowed to advertise.
That’s what we did and in the week after the inspection, we were pleased to welcome Nadine and Sveta, a couple of lasses from Bradford on a riding holiday.
Another good thing was the wet weather we’d been having abated for the week so the girls could get out and about. The picture shows the full range of transport we have available for guests to explore the Alentejo countryside – shanks’ pony, Murphy and a bike.
Contact us on www.alcaria-alta.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org