The European Council and Parliament have just agreed on a draft regulation on data collection and sharing for short-term rental services. The regulation was proposed by the Commission in November 2022 and was expected to be agreed on by EU ministers in March, however, the Council and Parliament have just now reached an agreement.
In light of the development of online services and the cooperative economy boosting rentals of rooms and residences for short periods of time, the proposed regulation aims to enhance transparency in the field of short-term accommodation rentals and help public authorities regulate this increasingly important part of the tourism sector.
“More transparency will enhance trust for travellers and help authorities design better tourism policies, to ensure social and environmental sustainability, while helping to control illegal activity”, said Rosana Morillo Rodriguez, acting Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism.
The new regulation creates a single and easy set of information rules for the platforms and facilitates registration procedures for hosts.Rosana Morillo Rodriguez, acting Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism
The new rules introduce harmonised registration requirements for hosts and short-term rental properties, including the granting of a unique registration number to be displayed on property websites, aimed at improving the collection and sharing of data from hosts and online platforms. The data generated will be shared between public administrations across the EU, feeding into tourism statistics and allowing administrations to fight against illegal offers.
Once the regulation enters into force, short-term rental accommodations will have 2 years to comply with the new requirements. Platforms will have to transmit activity data to the public authorities on a monthly basis, while small and micro online short-term rental platforms will transmit the activity every three months. Member states will create Single Digital Entry Points for the seamless collection and exchange of information. They will be interoperable and will guarantee data protection.
The proposed law is not intended to regulate access to the market, but simply create an easy-to-use registration system with common provisions for establishing registration procedures. As some Member States have already implemented systems of registration that differ in scope, the requirements to be submitted by the hosts or the online platforms and the level of administration at which registration is managed (national, regional or local), the aim of the new rules is to create a streamlined and cohesive process across the EU.
HOTREC, the umbrella association for the European hospitality industry, sees the law as an important public policy tool that will increase transparency and competitiveness in the accommodation market. “As one of the most regulated sectors in the EU, hoteliers find it unfair to compete with accommodations that are currently not even required to submit basic sets of data”, HOTREC said in a statement. “We are also encouraged to see that the Regulation introduces rules and obligations to online platforms that have significantly contributed to the current imbalances in the market.”
“For almost ten years HOTREC has been warning of the negative effects, lack of basic rules for short-term rentals and untransparent behaviour of online platforms”, emphasized HOTREC Director General Marie Audren. “It is important that Member States implement the rules and start collecting data as soon as possible.”
Airbnb also welcomes the regulation as a “watershed moment” for the platform and the industry. “The new rules will 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”, Airbnb Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Nathan Blecharczyk, wrote in a letter addressed to EU leaders.