In Lisbon at the start of 2020, many neighbourhoods were more than one-third taken up by short-term housing; in the worst-affected part of town,  about 55% of residential units had been converted to makeshift hostels and hotels.

Since lockdown, all the rentals dried up, and now Lisbon is taking advantage of that situation, in order to push some of these units back into the long-term housing market.

The city government is renting empty apartments directly from property owners, and renting them to Portuguese workers and students at subsidised rates.

At first this will be up to 2,000 homes taken off the short-term market, but this could become more, aiming to keep the city alive as a place to live, work, and raise families.

This is also the case in some major cities across the continent, now coronavirus has exposed the extent to which local economies were dependent on tourism.

They include Ireland, Paris, London, Spain’s Catalonia region (where Barcelona has the most Airbnb properties in Europe) and Rome.

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