Czech minister calls for strict enforcement of existing laws on Airbnb-style short-term rentals

Regional Development Minister Klára Dostálová said it would be better to ensure strict enforcement of current short-term housing laws rather than issuing new regulations, ČTK said.

His comments came after a meeting Friday between representatives of the ministry and Prague with entrepreneurs active in the sector. The coronavirus outbreak has led to a significant reduction in short-term accommodation services and Prague city councilors had hoped to take advantage of the emergency to introduce new rules.

Dostálová acknowledged that the enforcement of existing laws is difficult because the short-term rental of apartments is not itself defined as a business that must be licensed, unlike the provision of accommodation services.

Klára Dostálová, photo: Archives of the Czech Government Office

According to Dostálová, it is crucial to make a clear distinction between short-term leases provided by Airbnb and similar platforms and long-term rentals. According to her, the competent authorities should be able to carry out better inspections.

At Friday’s meeting, representatives from Prague also presented a proposal to give more powers to municipalities so that they can regulate the operation of short-term leases and the platforms on which the service operates. Dostalová said the question remains as to what power, exactly, to grant to municipalities.

Meanwhile, Prague City Council agreed that the municipality, as part of its legislative initiative, would propose that the Business License Act be amended to allow regulation. Councilor Hana Kordová Marvanová (United Force for Prague) was authorized to prepare a proposal to amend the law.

Prague proposes, among other things, that municipalities can limit the number of people accommodated simultaneously, in particular in apartments in residential buildings, and set a maximum number of days per year during which apartments can be rented.

Regulating the number of people housed would not be a problem, Dostalová said, but agreeing on the precise number of days could prove difficult.

Airbnb told ČTK it supports clear rules for shared hosting in Prague and has proposed measures to promote responsible shared hosting based on their experience working with more than 500 governments around the world.

Dostálová said a follow-up meeting is expected to take place within two to three months.

According to the Czech Association of Landlords and Landlords, short-term rentals in the Czech Republic are most often used by Germans, Americans and Brits.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, 1.16 million foreign tourists stayed in the Czech Republic via the Airbnb platform in 2018 and 115,000 Czechs used the platform for domestic stays. It is estimated that 11,500 apartments in Prague are mainly used for short-term accommodation.

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