The European Commission wants more transparency in the rental of short-term tourist accommodation. She proposes that online platforms such as Airbnb share more information with local authorities and that the hosts of these properties are registered similarly throughout the European Union.
Short-term rentals represent about a quarter of all tourist accommodations in the EU. The sector continues to grow, and the corona pandemic has not slowed down its increasing popularity. Nearly 200 million overnight stays were recorded in the EU in the first six months of this year alone.
“The platform economy has boosted the short-term rental sector but has not developed sufficiently transparently,” said Vice-President Margrethe Vestager. According to her, the lack of reliable data makes it more difficult for local authorities to formulate policies and solutions for possible problems, such as a lack of affordable housing or an unsustainably large influx of tourists.
That is why the Commission presented on Monday a draft regulation harmonizing the registration process for landlords and their homes on a European scale, with the assignment of unique registration numbers. Landlords must display their numbers on the platforms, which must check whether the information is correct on a random basis. Governments can suspend the numbers and ask platforms to remove publications from non-compliant hosts.
In addition, the Commission wants to oblige platforms to automatically share data on the number of nights and guests with government authorities every month. These should enable them to gain more insight into tourist flows and coordinate services such as waste collection. The obligations also apply to smaller platforms with an average of fewer than 2,500 landlords per month, but they will benefit from a more flexible regime.
It is now up to the Member States and the European Parliament to find a compromise on the regulation. Once that is done, Member States will be given a transition period of two years to organize the data exchange. They should also provide sanctions for platforms and landlords who do not follow the rules.