The European Commission presented the legislative proposal to reform short-term rental (STR) platforms last November, seeking to update the registration process for hosts across the EU and oblige travel platforms to share data with public authorities. New rules for Airbnb, Booking.com and STR platforms are likely to be approved during a meeting of business ministers on 2 March, according to Euractiv.
1. EESC’s recommendations
The recent boom in short-term rentals through online platforms, which now amounts to about a quarter of all tourist accommodation in the EU, has put strain on several communities. Commenting on the Commission’s upcoming law on STR, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) urged national and local authorities to carry out impact assessments to see how such activities are affecting the lives of local residents and businesses such as hotels and other hospitality facilities.
What we found interesting are the potential spill-over effects of the regulation.Marinel Dănuț Mureșan, EESC rapporteur
“Although the regulation itself is only about collecting and sharing data on short-term accommodation at EU level, indirectly, if national authorities can get this data from the platforms, we can obtain some more substantial results. The impact assessments would be a key tool for policymakers,” he added.
2. Finding the right balance
While some lesser-known regions and cities have gained from the development of local tourism through more affordable STRs, the EESC argues, more popular tourist destinations are reaching breaking point. For example, in Venice, Florence or Barcelona, competition has set hotels and other conventional establishments on a collision course with Airbnb and other online platforms and brought local life close to congestion.
“Short-term rentals are an opportunity for regions and cities. They develop tourism, create new travels habits but also challenges. To overcome these challenges, we need regulation, to give the regions and cities the capacity to provide housing for all. Homes are for people, not for profit,” said Isilda Maria Prazeres Gomes, Mayor of Portimao in Portugal, during a debate with local leaders on STRs and natural resources.
3. Administrative requirements
The draft regulation seen by Euractiv reveals an increased harmonization in the registration process at national level, requiring the relevant public authority to issue a unique identifier for the accommodation that is rented, which allows tracking across different platforms, otherwise known as multilisting.
Another feature agreed is the distinction between registration process and the authorisation procedure. Public authorities might request the hosts to provide supporting documentation, including the authorisation, as long as that requirement is in line with EU law.
New wording has been added requiring that the information on the rights of the hosts with regards to the authorisation scheme, notably possible redress mechanisms in case of dispute, should be readily available for hosts in line with the EU’s services directive, Euractiv shared, after obtaining documents ahead of the official voting.
Similarly, EU countries must provide all relevant information for the provision of STR services on their national territory, including the registration procedure and the conditions for accessing or putting on the market rental accommodations.