23 European cities ask the EU to limit short-term rentals

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After two years of stagnation due to COVID-19, European tourism is finally seeing its recovery after almost all countries on the continent opened their borders to international tourists.

Yet some of Europe’s most visited cities are facing another problem, that of an increase in the number of short-term rentals which are preventing many residents from finding accommodation, and are now calling for legislative action to tackle it. short-term rentals. rentals.

The European Cities Alliance for Short-Term Rentals has issued a letter addressing this need to tighten short-term rentals, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.

In this regard, the mayors, deputy mayors and other city officials of Barcelona, ​​Bologna, Brussels, Arezzo, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lyon, Porto and Florence and 12 other EU cities say that the European Commission is dropping plans for a legislative initiative that would regulate how people rent out their properties for short-term vacationers.

In Amsterdam, for example, advertisements for short-term vacation rentals have fallen from 4,500 in 2013 to 22,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, in Lisbon’s Alfama district, more than 55% of apartments are now listed under platforms such as Booking and Airbnb for short. term rental.

Moreover, in the center of Florence since 2015 they increased by 60% and in Krakow by 100% between 2014 and 2017.

For years, several cities across Europe have struggled with this problem of short-term rentals, with citizens complaining that short-term rentals make it difficult to rent accommodation for longer periods. However, these types of rentals are a good way to secure the money of owners who have a vacant room or apartment.

“Cities need help enforcing regulations and prosecuting illegal STHRs [short-term holiday rental]. Currently, this is made difficult by platforms that refuse to share critical information with authorities. Therefore, access to data must be ensured to enforce the rules. Otherwise, administrative costs will increase significantly for municipalities due to legal costs and investment in professional capacity to alternatively verify rental data, track complaints and indications of illegal STR activity and impose penalties. fines”, reads the letter.

However, they also increase rental value, reduce the supply of long-term housing, and cause a lot of inconvenience to neighbors. Some authorities have responded by creating specific fees for STHR or are considering banning companies like Airbnb.

For example, in Barcelona last year, after several years of complaints from locals about constant noise, high rental prices and a lack of apartments, the municipality announced a ban on Airbnb and rentals under of 31 days.

On August 4, the trade association representing the European hotel industry, HOTREC, called on European Union countries to impose obligations on platforms and short-term accommodation providers.

The call has been made for the authorities to start reviewing short-term rental activities.

Commenting on the issue, HOTREC Director General Marie Audren stressed that the EU tourism and hospitality sector should come up with regulations that would help address the challenges of short-term rentals.

Additionally, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has previously applauded Estonia for its smart taxation of these types of rentals. At the same time, he praised France for its long-term investment in the community, allowing the government and residents to benefit even from hospitality.

Last fall, the European Commission announced the legislative initiative for the regulation of short-term rentals, and after opening it up for public consultation, it has repeatedly postponed it. They may even drop it, as it doesn’t appear on the planned launch slate until December 2022.

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