Proposed new rules for short-term rentals in European cities

December 13, 2022

by Christopher Carey

The European Commission has proposed a legal framework for short-term rentals (STR) through platforms like Airbnb.

The new legislation would see the introduction of mandatory rules for data sharing between STR platforms and national authorities in the EU, under which the platforms would be required to automatically transmit aggregated data on the number of nights that a house or an apartment is rented monthly.

In July, the European Cities Alliance on Short Term Rentals published a open letter on the need for legislative action to tackle illegal short-term rentals.

Mayors, deputy mayors and other city officials from Barcelona, ​​Bologna, Brussels, Arezzo, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lyon, Porto and Florence, along with dozens of MEPs and members of the Eurocities network, signed the letter demanding an action, indicating their belief that the European Commission was abandoning plans for a legislative initiative to regulate short-term rentals.

“Cities and local authorities are not against STRs on principle,” said Federica Bordelot, senior policy adviser at Eurocities. cities today.

“What they are trying to do is limit illegal practices on the ground and keep cities liveable.

“That may mean an STR limit in certain areas where they see there’s a lack of housing or a dramatic increase in prices.”

According to the European Commission, around 25% of all tourist accommodation in the EU is provided by STRs, with an increase of 138% in the first half of 2022.

To date, cities have been primarily responsible for regulating the market, often through ad hoc registration systems and restrictions on the duration and nature of rentals.

The new proposal – which must be adopted by the Council of the EU and the Parliament before entering into force – will aim to introduce a harmonized framework for the sharing of information relating to the STR market, introducing obligations for hosts, platforms and local authorities.

What is the problem?

For years, cities across Europe have struggled to cope with the increase in STR, which has sometimes led to inflation in rental prices, a reduction in the supply of long-term housing and the fragmentation of communities.

In response to this, some local authorities have created specific fees for short-term rentals or have considered banning companies like Airbnb.

This was the case in Barcelona, ​​where, after years of complaints from residents about constant noise, high rental prices and a shortage of apartments, the municipality announced a ban on short-term private room rentals of less than of 31 days.

But the decision was overturned by Spain’s Supreme Court in January 2022.

In Amsterdam, STR listings have increased from 4,500 in 2013 to 22,000 in 2017. In Lisbon’s historic Alfama district, more than 55% of apartments are now STRs.

In the center of Florence, STRs have increased by 60% since 2015, and in Krakow by 100% between 2014 and 2017.

In a statement, Airbnb said it welcomed the proposed regulations, saying it wanted to be “part of the solution” to the challenges facing communities and cities.

“[This is] why we’ve worked with governments across the EU to help hosts share accommodation, follow the rules and pay taxes.

“We look forward to working with the European Commission on the specific details of this regulation as we move forward.”

Image: florian-wehde-unsplash

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