“The suspension of new registrations is a precautionary measure to create a regulation”, said the president, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues, when this issue was being debated at the public meeting of the municipal executive.
The proposal was unanimously approved, and is now being discussed in the Municipal Assembly.
The council defends that “the safeguarding of the public interest in the fundamental right to housing and the balanced development of the tourism sector require that rules be defined in its articulation, due to the fact that there is a significant number of family dwellings that were withdrawn from the housing market directly for the tourism sector”.
Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues justified the measure with the “need to discipline” the area of local accommodation, something only possible by suspending new registrations while the municipal regulation is drawn up.
In addition, the mayor said he could not continue to allow all requests to be approved, as has been the case until now.
Noting that this measure only suspends new registrations, and not those that already exist, he revealed that between the 19th and 22nd of January alone, when this proposal was announced, 82 new requests were received.
Present at the meeting, the president of the Associação do Alojamento Local in Portugal (ALEP), Eduardo Miranda, reinforced that there is no “evident pressure” in Vila Nova de Gaia that justifies this suspension.
Showing himself available to meet with the municipal executive, the leader underlined that the municipality still has 13,500 empty houses (according to the 2021 Census) and only 1,270 are local accommodations, most made in second homes or formerly vacant houses that have been rehabilitated. Which, he added, represents 0.9 percent of total housing in Gaia.
“We cannot demonise local accommodation”, he stressed, classifying the decision as “hasty”.
In response, the mayor stressed that he was not “demonising” the sector, but rather “disciplining” it.
Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues also said that the housing market is “overheated”.
For his part, PSD councillor Cancela Moura shared the sector's need to "have rules", asking for "speed" in drawing up the municipal regulation.