- Rules on data sharing on short-term rentals across the EU to help authorities take appropriate measures
- Policies should foster short-term rental services, while respecting local communities
- Divergent local rules lead to fragmentation of the internal market
- Short-term rentals, booked through platforms like Airbnb and Booking, represent around 25% of tourist accommodation in the EU and number increasing
The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee adopted its position on new rules to make short-term rented accommodation more transparent.
In the text adopted on Tuesday with 31 votes in favour, none against and one abstention, MEPs support the proposal to harmonise the rules specifying how data related to short-term rental services (STRs) are collected and shared, and to help shed light on their impact and enable member states to develop and enforce proportionate policy measures.
MEPs believe that new policies regulating STRs should give platforms opportunities to grow while respecting policy objectives like affordable housing, protection of urban centres and rural areas, and lead to safer and more sustainable tourism.
Exchange of data
Member states would have to set up a single digital entry point to receive data from platforms about the hosts’ activity (e.g. specific address, corresponding registration number, URL of the listing), on a monthly basis. The Commission would be tasked with simplifying procedures for online platforms to share data and ensuring interoperability of IT systems. The aggregated data would be used to compile statistics and help enforce policies.
MEPs also included amendments to enhance public access to information and to allow public authorities, online platforms, hosts and citizens to better understand the new rules. Member states would have 18 months to adapt their registration systems and create the IT infrastructure.
Easy registration for hosts and checks by online platforms
The proposed framework sets out a simple, online registration procedure for short-term rental properties in member states that require it. MEPs clarified the information needed from hosts to register and the power of authorities to verify that the information provided is correct.
MEPs also reinforced obligations for online platforms, which would have to ensure that the information provided by the hosts is reliable and complete, and that their registration number is clearly visible in the listing. In line with the Digital Services Act, platforms would have to conduct regular random checks on the listings and remove those failing to respect the provisions.
Rapporteur Kim Van Sparrentak (Greens/EFA, NL) said: “The expansive growth of short-term rented accommodation has led to less available housing on the market for inhabitants, has driven up rents and housing prices and has also has an impact on the liveability of neighbourhoods. The rules we adopted today make sure that cities have access to the necessary data to enforce local rules. Platforms are getting more responsibility in supporting the removal of illegal listings, in line with the Digital Services Act (DSA). I am confident we can close negotiations with the Council still this year”.
The adopted negotiating mandate will need to be confirmed by Parliament as a whole at the 2-5 October plenary session. After that, negotiations with Council, which has already adopted its position, can start.
The market for short-term rentals has increased rapidly over the last few years, mainly due to hundreds of online platforms such as Airbnb, Booking, Expedia and TripAdvisor expanding. This type of accommodation makes up about one quarter of total tourist accommodation in the EU and is expected to increase. While such rentals create benefits for hosts, tourists and many regions, some researchers argue that the lack of appropriate rules also contributes to problems like higher housing prices, permanent residents being displaced and disturbed, over-tourism and unfair competition.