A new Brussels’ proposal would oblige tourist apartment rental platforms to create a single registry of properties and owners.
One out of four homes in the European Union is rented as a tourist apartment. Brussels is working on a regulation to unify a sector that directly influences one of the pillars of the economy, tourism. Housing experts insist that it is key to achieve a balance between the benefit of the owner of touristic flats and the welfare of the neighbors.
The proposal would force the rental platforms to create a single registry of properties and owners. What the European Union is trying to do is to harmonize the requirements for registering properties, that is, that the registration systems are the same and are easily computable so that it is known who the owner is and where the property is.
Random checks will have to be made and whoever does not comply with the regulation will be sanctioned. This is something that hotel associations across Europe are looking favorably on. The regulations are not the same for hotels and for touristic flats and apartments. A hotel needs to comply with hundreds of regulations, tourist apartments none. The proposal must be debated in Parliament and in the European Council. Once it enters into force, it will be up to the member states to apply it and put the fine print on it.
According to the latest data, tourist flats represent approximately 25% of tourist accommodation in the European Union, after having experienced a growing trend during the pandemic. In that sense, the bookings of this type of rentals in the summers of 2020 and 2021 were higher than in 2018 and, only in the first six months of 2022, an increase of 138% was recorded. This sector "has not developed with sufficient transparency," assured the European Commission's Vice President for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, to justify the proposal.
For its part, Airbnb has also welcomed the European initiative, which welcomes the implementation of a framework that "makes it easier for Europeans to share their homes and follow the rules."
"By adopting a more harmonized approach to regulation, industry and governments can work better together to improve access to data, increase transparency and address disproportionate local rules that undermine the single market," said the company's head of public policy, Georgina Browes.