Authorities are clamping down on illegal landlords with a tough new law which came into effect last week.
The Prohibition of Providing Illegal Accommodation redefines illegal accommodation and specifies that except for those holding a special authorisation to stay, non-residents who are allowed to stay for no longer than 90 days upon entering Macao can only stay in “legally-operated hotel establishments in principle, including hotels, apartment hotels and economical [budget] accommodation establishments”.
The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) underlined that any individual or entity without a hotel business licence that accommodates visitors in premises or individual apartments “that are not classified to function as hotel establishments, such as residential and commercial properties as well as industrial buildings” is considered an illegal accommodation provider.
However, there are exceptions – firstly religious organisations, non-profit legal persons or organisations and higher education institutions offering accommodation because of religious, charitable, sport, cultural or academic activities, such as higher education institutions receiving guests at their dormitories;
And secondly, lodging providers who are acquainted with lodgers before their stay through their kinship, work, academic or other private relationships, because of which lodgers are also accommodated for free.
The law “mandates specific cooperation obligations of accommodation-booking businesses such as online platforms for hotel reservation”, using the example of having to provide relevant documents. The new law includes fines of between MOP 20,000 and 100,000 for aiding and abetting the provision of illegal accommodation.
The MGTO also pointed out that if property owners report the illegal accommodation activities before the start of investigations into the irregularity and themselves are not involved in providing illegal accommodation, the MGTO may not impose sanctions such as sealing the property, or shorten the sanctions’ implementation period, The Macau Post Daily reported.