As part of its efforts to promote transparency in the short-term rental sector, the Commission adopted on Monday a proposal for the regulation to improve transparency and assist public authorities in ensuring the sector's balanced development in the context of sustainable tourism.
According to the announcement, while short-term rental bookings benefit landlords and tourists, they can cause concern in some local communities that are struggling with issues such as a lack of affordable housing. The new rules will improve data collection and sharing 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 sector.
The new proposed rules will help to improve transparency in the identification and activity of short-term rental property lessors, as well as the rules with which they must comply, and will make lessor registration easier. They will also address the current fragmented way that online platforms exchange data, ultimately assisting in the prevention of illegal registrations. Overall, this will contribute to the sustainability of the tourism ecosystem and its digital transition.
Short-term rentals make up roughly one-quarter of all tourist accommodations in the EU.
The new proposed framework will:
- When established by national authorities, it will harmonize registration requirements for lessors and properties offered for short-term rental: registration systems should be fully online and user-friendly. The same set of relevant information about landlords and their properties, namely 'who, what, and where,' should be required. Lessors should be assigned a unique registration number when completing the registration.
- will clarify the rules governing registration number display and control: online platforms should make it easier for landlords to display registration numbers on their platforms. They should also conduct spot checks to ensure that lessors are properly registering and displaying their numbers. Public authorities will be able to suspend registration numbers and demand that non-compliant lessors be removed from platforms.
- will streamline data sharing between online platforms and public authorities: online platforms will be required to share automated data on the number of overnight stays and tenants with public authorities once a month. Simpler reporting options are planned for small and micro platforms. This data will be available to public authorities via national "single digital entry points." This will aid in the development of a well-targeted policy.
- allow for data reuse in aggregated form: the data produced under this proposal will contribute, in aggregated form, to Eurostat's tourism statistics and feed into the upcoming European Tourism Data Space. This data will aid in the development of novel tourism-related services.
- will develop an effective implementation framework: Member States will monitor the implementation of this transparency framework and will impose appropriate sanctions if the obligations of this Regulation are not met.
The Commission's proposal will be debated in preparation for adoption by the European Parliament and Council.
Following its adoption and entry into force, Member States will have two years to implement the necessary data exchange mechanisms.
In the EU, short-term rentals are expanding quickly, largely due to the online economy. They make up about 25% of all tourist accommodations in the EU, and their number is rapidly expanding all over the continent. This pattern was confirmed during the COVID crisis: more short-term rental reservations were made for the summers of 2020 and 2021 than for the corresponding periods in 2018. In addition, compared to the same period in 2021, the number of reservations rose by 138% in the first half of 2022. For tenants, landlords, and many communities throughout the EU, short-term rentals have become essential, posing both opportunities and difficulties.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]