Short-term rentals: new EU rules for more transparency

New EU rules aim to bring more transparency to short-term rentals in the EU and promote a more sustainable tourism.

Map with different pins indicating short-term rental locations
Map with pins indicating short-term rental locations

Short term rentals: key stats and issues

The short-term rental market has rapidly expanded in recent years. Although the variety of accommodation solutions, such as private properties rented out as guest accommodations, can have a positive effect on tourism, its exponential growth has caused issues.

Local communities have been negatively affected by the lack of available housing in popular tourist destinations, the increased rental prices and the overall impact on the liveability of some areas.

While the pandemic caused a decline in guest nights in 2020 compared to 2019, figures for 2021 surpassed pre-pandemic levels and have been rising since then. The trend continued in 2023, as four leading platforms (AirBnb, Booking, Expedia and TripAdvisor) recorded more than 300 million nights spent in short-stay accommodation.

Nights booked via these online platforms rose by 13.4% in the third quarter of the year, which is traditionally the strongest one, compared to the same period in 2022.

Infographic showing the distribution of monthly guest nights in the EU from 2019 to 2023.
Infographic showing the number of nights guests spent in short-stay accommodation in the EU using online platforms

A total of 547 million nights were booked in the EU in 2022 via four large online platforms (Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group and Tripadvisor), which means more than 1.5 million guests per night stayed in short-term accommodation.

The highest number of guests in 2022 were recorded in Paris (13.5 million guests) followed by Barcelona and Lisbon with over 8.5 million guests each and Rome with over 8 million guests.

From 2019 to 2023, there was an increase, rising from 96.9 million monthly nights booked in August 2019 to 124.7 million monthly nights booked in August 2023.

In response to the rising number of short-term rentals, several cities and regions have introduced local rules to limit access to short-term rental services.

124.7 million

The number of nights guests spent in short-stay accommodation in the EU in August 2023 booked via four leading online platforms

Challenges related to short-term rentals

The increase in short-term accommodation rentals has created a number of challenges:

  • Need for more transparency: the lack of transparency in short-term rental operations makes it difficult for authorities to monitor and regulate these services effectively
  • Regulatory challenges: public authorities face challenges in ensuring that short-term rentals comply with local regulations, taxation, and safety standards due to insufficient information
  • Urban development concerns: some local authorities find it difficult to cope with the quick growth of short-term rentals which may transform residential areas and puts additional burden on public services such as waste collection

The EU response to rising short-term rentals

In November 2022 the European Commission put forward a proposal for providing more transparency in the field of short-term rentals and supporting public authorities to promote sustainable tourism.

Parliament and Council reached a deal on the proposal in November 2023. The measures include:

  1. Registration of hosts: the deal sets a simple registration process online for short-term rental properties in EU countries where it is required. After completing this process, hosts will receive a registration number enabling them to rent out their property. This will facilitate the identification of hosts and the verification of their details by the authorities.
  2. More security for users: online platforms will be required to verify the accuracy of property details and they will be equally expected to perform random checks. Authorities will be able to halt registrations, remove non-compliant listings, or impose fines on platforms if necessary.
  3. Data sharing: in order to receive data from platforms about host activity, EU countries will set up a single digital entry point to assist local authorities in understanding rental activities and improving tourism. However, for micro and small platforms with an average of up to 4,250 listings a simpler system for data sharing will be put in place.

Kim van Sparrentak (Greens/EFA, the Netherlands), the MEP in charge of steering the legislative file through Parliament, said: “Previously, rental platforms didn't share data, making it hard to enforce city rules. This new law changes that, giving cities more control."

Next steps

Parliament approved the new rules on short-term rentals in February 2024.

Before the entry into force, the new rules need to be adopted by Council as well and after that EU countries will have 24 months to implement them.

Data collection and sharing related to short-term accommodation rental services