EU rules on Airbnb-style rentals should finally be in place by 2026, following an agreement on a new regulation reached by negotiators from the European parliament and council.
Last year, 13 cities including Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona called for urgent EU action, arguing that long-term rentals were increasingly being converted into short-term tourist accommodation causing soaring prices and more problems for residents.
The new regulations seek to “promote a balanced tourism ecosystem”, recognising that online agencies such as Airbnb and Booking offer benefits for hosts and tourists, but can be a problem for some local communities.
A pillar of the new legislation will be the data collection from online platforms, which will have to share information with local councils, feeding into tourism statistics and helping officials to regulate the market.
Large platforms will be required to communicate activity data on a monthly basis and small ones every three months, when the rules come into effect.
The regulation will also introduce registration requirements for hosts and short-term rental properties. Once the procedure is completed, hosts will receive a registration number that will allow them to rent out their property. This will have to be displayed on the websites and will allow relevant authorities to know the identity of the host and verify their information.
Under the EU rules, online agencies will have to conduct random checks on this information and officials will also be to suspend registration numbers, ask platforms to remove illegal listings and impose penalties in case of non-compliance.
Since 2021, Amsterdam hosts have had to register their property with the city council and can only rent it out for a maximum of 30 days.
Dutch Groenlinks MEP Kim Van Sparrentak, the lead negotiator for the European parliament, said the “explosion” in illegal holiday rentals is “putting the liveability and affordability of cities across Europe under pressure”.
“Until now, rental platforms have refused to share data, making it difficult to enforce local regulations. Fortunately, this law puts an end to that and returns more control to the cities,” she said.
Short-term rentals booked via online agencies represent around 25% of tourist accommodation in the European Union. In the second quarter of 2023, almost 153 million nights stays were booked via Airbnb, Booking, Expedia or TripAdvisor, an increase of 16% compared with the same period in 2022, according to the EU statistical office Eurostat.
Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Airbnb, said the new rules are “a watershed moment” for Airbnb and the industry.
They “serve as a global example of how to regulate short-term rentals, and give clear guidance to platforms and authorities on important matters, including how to share data and make local rules work for everyone,” he said.
The new system should be effective from 2026, as the agreement still has to be formally approved by the European parliament and council early next year. After that, member states will have 24 months to adapt their registration systems and create the necessary IT infrastructure.
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