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Marie Mandíková | May 7, 2024

EU regulation approved: new conditions for short-term rentals

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Short-term rentals are an important competitor to traditional hotel and guesthouse accommodation and offer an alternative for tourists who prefer flexibility, authenticity and privacy, even at the cost of a higher level of risk and less regulation. Currently, this form of accommodation accounts for around a quarter of tourist accommodation in the European Union, and there is no doubt that it is becoming a significant part of tourism. However, with the proliferation of short-term rentals and the development of massively popular online platforms such as Airbnb, there are more and more questions about the regulatory and tax aspects of this trend and the related challenges.

Some of the problematic aspects of short-term rentals should be resolved by Regulation 2024/10281, which was approved by the EU council on 18 March this year. The aim of the Regulation is mainly to increase transparency and harmonise the legislation on data collection and sharing in the field of short-term rentals.

Registration of hosts and properties

The most important change that the Regulation will bring is undoubtedly the possibility for Member States to introduce a registration system for hosts and accommodation units. In addition, the registration system can also be introduced only for a selected territory within a Member State. Registration will probably be relatively simple – hosts will only need to submit a declaration containing the required information and will then be automatically registered in the system.

The national controlling authorities will only verify the data provided ex post and, if necessary, will be entitled to suspend or withdraw the registration completely. However, online platforms offering short-term rentals will also have to make a reasonable effort to verify information. In the event of non-compliance, not only the hosts, but also the aforementioned platforms may be sanctioned.

Collecting information

Another significant innovation contained in the Regulation is the introduction of an obligation for online platforms to collect and transmit information on hosts and rental units (e.g. number of nights for which the registered property has been rented, number of guests, specific address, registration number, etc.) at regular intervals to a single digital entry point to be established by the Member State concerned.

The data collected in the digital entry point will be accessible to the designated national authorities responsible for compliance with public law obligations in the field of short-term rentals. They will also be able to share information with statistical research institutions in an anonymised form. As a result, this should mean both the transparent acquisition of information and its subsequent use in the effective monitoring of compliance with the established obligations, but also the possibility to use statistical data to adopt the necessary legislation.

The Regulation will enter into force 24 months after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, i.e. in 2026. In the meantime, however, the Czech legal system will have to be adapted to meet the requirements contained therein – the legislator will have to regulate the procedures for the registration of hosts and real estate, uniformly determine the obligations of online platforms, establish and regulate the operation of the single digital entry point, and establish penalties for violations of the obligations in the regulation. The impact on the current situation in the short-term accommodation market will probably be largely positive, not only for the state, but also for hosts, online platforms and, of course, for tourists. In exchange for a light administrative burden associated with registration, hosts will gain a transparent overview of their obligations and hopefully greater legitimacy for their activities, while tourists will see greater clarity of offers, regulation and resulting greater security. Online platforms will benefit from the uniformity of rules for registration systems across the EU, which will clarify their obligations and simplify doing business in more member states.