The European parliament will this week start discussing new rules for holiday rental companies such as Airbnb and Booking.com, which aim to give local councils the power to order the de-listing of properties that do not comply with certain requirements.
Dutch GroenLinks MEP Kim Van Sparrentak is spearheading the effort and will present her proposals to the parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee on Tuesday.
People spent about 547 million nights in homes rented via Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia or Tripadvisor across the EU in 2022, according the EU statistical office Eurostat.
“The recent growth in online short-term rental accommodation services has impacted society in many ways,” the report by Van Sparrentak says.
While this has been positive from a tourism perspective it has also been negative, by “extracting long-term housing from the market in popular tourist destinations, increased housing prices, and a loss of grip on where tourism activity takes place,” the report said.
In turn, this had had an “impact on liveability in some areas with noise disturbances or closure of convenience stores.”
In October last year Geerte Udo, the head of Amsterdam’s city marketing organisation, said these type of rentals are “harmful” in cities like Amsterdam, which has been grappling to control the growth and has banned it in some areas.
Cities and countries have responded to the growth in platform rentals in different ways. Portugal recently announced the ban of new licenses for short-term holiday accommodation, except in less populated rural areas.
Paris lets people rent their primary residence on sites like Airbnb for maximum 120 days a year. Amsterdam has a 30 day limit. Some countries, including the Netherlands, require hosts to register or obtain a license from local authorities to be able to rent their properties via such sites.
However, to enforce these rules, authorities need access to relevant information from the platforms and currently rely on their goodwill, as there isn’t a legal basis for the sharing of these data, Van Sparrentak says.
Last year the European Commission proposed new rules which would require online platforms to automate sharing data about rented nights and numbers of guests with local councils.
The new measures would include a common registration system across the EU, avoiding many different data requests on rental sites.
For the countries that have registration procedures in place, a registration number identifying their property should be issued automatically and this will have to be displayed on the platform.
Van Sparrentak has welcomed these proposals but said she wants to give councils greater powers in case hosts provide incorrect information.
In particular, she is proposing giving councils the right to suspend or withdraw the registration number and, if needed, order platforms to de-list properties, if they do not receive complete or accurate information from the hosts.
She also recommends expanding the list of information required for the registration procedure, including the floor, mailbox number and land registry reference, to allow the precise identification of a unit.
In addition, online platforms should make “reasonable efforts” to regularly carry out random checks to ensure there are no inaccurate declarations or invalid registration numbers on their websites.
The European parliament and the European Council, which represents EU governments, will have to agree the final text of the new regulations.
After its formal adoption, EU countries will have a transition period to create or adapt their existing registration systems. Van Sparrentak would like to reduce this period from 24 to 12 months.
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