Brussels Introduces New Short-Term Rental Rules in a Bid to Tackle Transparency Issues

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The European Commission has recently presented a proposal for the regulation of short-term rental accommodation spots, in an effort to increase transparency and help authorities to establish balanced development of this segment, as part of the sustainable tourism sector.

A report by Idealista reveals that the proposal doesn’t solve the problem of fragmentation of laws, but it is a step forward toward the solution, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“While local accommodation reservations offer benefits for hosts and tourists, they can create concerns for certain local communities in difficulty, for example, with the lack of affordable housing,” the report points out.

As The Portugal News reports, the proposed rules suggest that the European Commission will contribute to establishing better transparency in the identification and activity of short-term accommodation hosts and also facilitate the registration of hosts.

Brussels intends to harmonise registration requirements for short-term rental properties, establishing a registration scheme that will have to be online and easy to use and contain the main information. Upon registration, hosts must receive a unique registration number.

On that matter, the online platforms will have to make registration numbers easy to find and randomly check that host’s register and show the correct number. If there might be any non-compliant host, public authorities are authorised to suspend the registration number and request to identify the person.

All platforms will have to share the data such as the number of guests and nights spent with public entities, in an automated way, once a month. In addition, data generated under this proposal will be used for tourism statistics by Eurostat, the European Office for Statistics.

Furthermore, the Member States will be able to manage the implementation of the framework and also apply sanctions in case of non-compliance with this regulation’s requirements.

The proposal needs to be discussed and approved by the EU Parliament and after its adoption and becoming effective, Member States will have two years to establish the required mechanisms for sharing data.

Portugal is a country with increasing numbers of tourists; thus, residents often offer short-term rentals such as AirBNBs. Recently, Portugal recorded a high number of tourists from the United States, with 204,000 Americans reaching the country.

The United States is the third-largest market for tourists in Portugal, falling behind France and Germany, followed by the United Kingdom and Spain, with 262,000 and 213,000 visitors, respectively.

South America is another profitable market for Portugal, as more than 1.1 million tourists from this region visited the European country between January and September of 2022. This accounts for an increase of nearly 200,000 visitors compared to pre-pandemic levels.

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