The European Commission has unveiled a proposal to regulate the business of short-term accommodation rentals (STR) and bring more transparency to its practices. The proposal is due to be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
While short-term accommodation bookings offer benefits for hosts and tourists, they can create concerns for certain local communities struggling, for instance, with a lack of affordable housing. The new rules will improve the collection and sharing of data from hosts and online platforms. This will, in turn, inform effective and proportionate local policies to address the challenges and opportunities related to the short-term rental sector.
The new proposed rules will help to improve transparency on the identification and activity of short-term accommodation hosts, and on the rules they have to comply with, and will facilitate the registration of hosts. They will also tackle the current fragmentation in how online platforms share data and, ultimately, help prevent illegal listings. Overall, this will contribute to a more sustainable tourism ecosystem and support its digital transition.
New requirements for data sharing for short-term rentals
The European Commission’s new proposed framework will:
• Harmonise registration requirements for hosts and their short-term rental properties when introduced by national authorities: registration schemes will have to be fully online and user-friendly. A similar set of relevant information on the hosts and their properties, namely the “who”, “what” and “where”, will be required. When completing registration, hosts should receive a unique registration number.
• Clarify rules to ensure registration numbers are displayed and checked: online platforms will have to facilitate hosts to display registration numbers on their platforms. They will also have to randomly check whether hosts register and display the correct numbers. Public authorities will be able to suspend registration numbers and ask platforms to delist non-compliant hosts.
• Streamline data sharing between online platforms and public authorities: online platforms will have to share data about the number of rented nights and of guests with public authorities, once a month, in an automated way. Lighter reporting possibilities are foreseen for small and micro platforms. Public authorities will be able to receive this data through national ‘single digital entry points’. This will support well-targeted policy making.
• Allow the reuse of data, in aggregate form: the data generated under this proposal will, in aggregate form, contribute to tourism statistics produced by Eurostat and feed into the upcoming European data space for tourism. This information will support the development of innovative, tourism-related services.
• Establish an effective framework of implementation: Member States will monitor the implementation of this transparency framework and put in place the relevant penalties for non-compliance with the obligations of this Regulation.
The European Commission’s proposal will be discussed in view of adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
After its adoption and entry into force, Member States will have a two-year period to establish the necessary mechanisms for data exchanges.
HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants, Bars and Cafes) the voice of European hospitality, welcomed the proposal for a regulation on short-term accommodation rentals (STR), presented today by the European Commission.
According to the association, the initiative is an important step and opportunity to level the playing field amongst all accommodation providers, a majority of which are micro-enterprises, and establish a framework that will protect and benefit consumers, residents, local communities and the entire EU tourism ecosystem.
Commenting on the proposal Marie Audren, director general of HOTREC said: “The hospitality industry has long been calling for an EU regulation that would address challenges brought forward by the STR accommodation phenomenon. Building upon the recently adopted Digital Services Act, the European Commission proposal represents a step in the right direction to ensure a fair, transparent, competitive and sustainable accommodation environment.”