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Gabriela Jandová | January 16, 2024

EU effort for uniform registration of short-term rentals

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Short-term rentals, which have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, are an increasingly important part of the tourism industry. The growth of this form of tourist accommodation has completely changed the shape of tourism and now accounts for almost a quarter of the total accommodation supply in the EU. Short-term rentals bring with them undeniable benefits and opportunities for landlords as well as the overall tourism ecosystem. However, their rapid growth raises concerns that they are contributing to a reduction in the number of dwellings available to meet housing needs and to an increase in rental housing prices. In response to this negative impact, the Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation on data collection and sharing in the field of short-term rentals[1] on which the Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement.

The regulation aims to address the main shortcomings of this type of service, which include a lack of transparency in the absence of reliable information on landlords and their business. This is a pitfall that makes it difficult to assess their actual impact, and as a result makes it difficult for the public sector to develop appropriate policy measures.

Another currently very problematic aspect of short-term rentals is the wide variation in requirements for hosts or online platforms (e.g. Airbnb) across Member States. Some countries already have registration systems in place, through which they are obliged to submit various amounts of information. The current situation may thus reduce the efficiency of doing business in the European single market.

In order to address the negative aspects described above, the Regulation aims to introduce a single registration system, in which each short-term rental provider will be obliged to provide its identification data as well as the address of the rented unit or the duration of the service provided. A properly identified host will receive a unique number that has a similar identification function to a tax ID. They will have to provide this registration number to online platforms, which will be obliged to request and check it.

In addition, large and medium-sized platforms with more than 2,500 active offers will be obliged to report to the public authorities on a monthly basis on the number of rentals, their location or the websites of the offering parties. For platforms with fewer than 2,500 active offers, this obligation applies every three months. The data obtained in this way will then be collected in a central database, where they will be evaluated and further used to make EU and domestic legislation more effective.

Spot checks will be used to identify irregularities. As part of these, the authorities will always select a certain number of landlords, whose offered premises will be inspected. If a provider fails to disclose all essential information, he may be banned from operating, with further sanctions (typically fines) to be determined by individual Member States.

The regulation is due to come into force in two years. In 2026, the list of registers and records in the Czech Republic may well be expanded to include a non-public register of short-term rentals.

[1] European Commission, Proposal No. 2022/0358 (COD) of 7 Nov 2022.