Today, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation to enhance transparency in the field of short-term accommodation rentals and help public authorities ensure their balanced development as part of a sustainable tourism sector.
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 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 on-line and user-friendly. A similar set of relevant information on the hosts and their properties, namely the “who”, “what” and “where”, should 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 Commission’s proposal will be discussed in view of adoption by the European Parliament and the Council.
After its adoption and entry into force, Member States will have a two-year period to establish the necessary mechanisms for data exchanges.
Short-term rentals are developing fast in the EU, largely boosted by the platform economy. They represent about one quarter of all tourist accommodation in the EU and their number is increasing significantly across the EU. This trend was confirmed during the COVID crisis: the number of short-term rental bookings during the summers of 2020 and 2021 were above the equivalent 2018 levels. In addition, the number of bookings over the first half of 2022, has increased by 138% compared with the same period in 2021. Short-term rentals have become critical for the EU tourism ecosystem, including guests and hosts, and for many communities, creating both opportunities and challenges.
The proposal for a Regulation on data collection and sharing relating to short-term accommodation rental services is a key action of the tourism transition pathway, published in February 2022. The proposal was announced in the Commission’s SME Strategy of March 2020 with a view to promoting the balanced and responsible development of the collaborative economy across the Single Market, in full respect of public interests.
It will also complement existing instruments, in particular the Digital Services Act which regulates online platforms, and the rules of the Directive on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation (DAC7).