New rules for short-term rental properties in Europe

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Promoting transparency in the short-term rental sector for the benefit of all stakeholders – The new proposed framework

Today the Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation to increase transparency in the short-term rental property sector and to help public authorities to ensure the balanced development of the sector in the context of sustainable tourism.

Despite the fact that short-term rental properties provide benefits to landlords and tourists, they can create concerns for some local communities who are facing, for example, a lack of affordable housing. The new rules will improve the collection and sharing of data by landlords and online platforms. This, in turn, will help shape effective and proportionate local policies to address the challenges and opportunities associated with the short-term rental property sector.

The new proposed rules will help improve transparency regarding the identification and activity of short-term rental property landlords and the rules they must comply with, while making it easier for landlords to register. They will also address the current fragmented way in which online platforms exchange data and ultimately help prevent illegal listings. Overall, this will help achieve greater sustainability of the tourism ecosystem and support its digital transition.

New data sharing requirements for short-term rental properties

The new proposed framework:

  • • will harmonize the registration requirements for landlords and properties offering for short-term rental, where these are established by national authorities: registration systems should be fully online and user-friendly. The same set of relevant information should be required for landlords and their properties ie ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’. When completing the registration, landlords should receive a unique registration number.
  • • will clarify the rules to ensure the display and control of listing numbers: online platforms should make it easier for landlords to display listing numbers on their platforms. They should also carry out spot checks to see if landlords are entering and displaying the correct numbers. Public authorities will be able to suspend listing numbers and ask platforms to delete non-compliant landlords.
  • • will streamline data sharing between online platforms and public authorities: online platforms should share data on the number of overnight stays and the number of employees once a month, in an automated way, with public authorities. Simpler notification options are provided for small and very small platforms. Public authorities will be able to receive this data through national “digital single points of entry”. In this way, well-targeted policy making will be supported.
  • • will enable further use of the data, in an aggregated form: the data produced under this proposal will contribute, in an aggregated form, to the tourism statistics produced by Eurostat and will feed into the upcoming European Tourism Data Space . This information will support the development of innovative services related to tourism.
  • • will create an effective implementation framework: Member States will monitor the implementation of this transparency framework and establish relevant sanctions in case of non-compliance with the obligations of this regulation.

Next steps

The Commission’s proposal will be discussed with a view to its approval by the European Parliament and the Council.

After its publication and entry into force, Member States will have a two-year period to establish the necessary mechanisms for data exchange.

Record

Short-term property rentals are growing rapidly in the EU and are largely fueled by the platform economy. They account for around a quarter of all tourist accommodation in the EU and their number is increasing significantly across the EU. This trend was confirmed during the COVID crisis: the number of short-term rental property bookings in the summer of 2020 and 2021 was higher from the corresponding levels of 2018. In addition, the number of bookings in the first half of 2022 increased by 138 % compared to the same period in 2021. Short-term property rentals have become vital to the EU tourism ecosystem, including renters and landlords, as well as for many communities, creating both opportunities and challenges.

The proposal for a regulation on the collection and sharing of data on short-term rental property services is a key action of the Tourism Transition Pathway, published in February 2022. The proposal was announced in Commission strategy for SMEs of March 2020 in order to promote the balanced and responsible development of the collaborative economy throughout the single market, with full respect for public interests.

It will also complement existing instruments, in particular the Digital Services Act regulating online platforms, and the Directive’s rules on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation.

“The short-term rental property sector has been boosted by the platform economy, but it has not been developed with sufficient transparency. With this proposal we make it easier for landlords and platforms, big or small, to help increase transparency in the sector. These sector-specific rules will complement the general rules of the Digital Services Act, which establishes a set of obligations and accountability requirements for platforms operating in the EU,” said Ms Margrethe Vesteyjer, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Ready for the Digital Age.

Athena Papakosta

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