Council agrees position on data collection and sharing for short-term accommodation rentals© European Union, 2021, Source: Council of the EU – Audiovisual resources
Ministers for competitiveness agreed today on a negotiating mandate (general approach) for the regulation on data collection and sharing for short-term accommodation rental services, as part of the ongoing efforts to promote a balanced tourism ecosystem within the EU.
This regulation will benefit players of the short-term accommodation rental segment alike: hosts will have an easy registration procedure, platforms will have a single set of rules for the information they have to provide, travellers will be better protected against fraud and authorities will be able to regulate based on accurate and reliable data.
Ebba Busch, Swedish Minister for Energy, Business and Industry and Deputy Prime Minister
Data from online platforms that operate in the short-term accommodation rental market are not currently standardised due to a diversity of rules and different methods established by member states. The Council supports the creation of a data collection and sharing framework at EU level while also including provisions to better take into account the registration systems that are already in place in the member states.
Easier and harmonised system for data collection
Under the new rules, member states that require data from platforms will have to set up a national “single digital entry point” for the transmission of data between online short-term rental platforms and the public authorities.
Every house, apartment or room offered for rent for a limited number of days per year will have a registration number, so that the competent authorities can know the identity of the “host”, i.e. the person that wants to rent the dwelling. The online platforms will have to make reasonable efforts to undertake regular random checks to verify that there are no incorrect declarations of hosts or invalid registration numbers. The treatment of all the information will have to be compliant with European data protection rules.
This will reduce red tape and costs for hosts and platforms while giving authorities the data they need to regulate the activity. This will also create a level playing field with other actors of the tourism sector (such as hotels, hostels or aparthotels) and help combat fraud.
Member states will have to provide the necessary information to allow public authorities, online platforms, hosts and citizens to understand the laws and requirements relating to the provision of short-term accommodation rental services within their territory. Those include registration procedures and requirements concerning access to, and provision of, these services.
The general approach agreed today provides the Council presidency with a mandate for starting negotiations with the European Parliament once the latter has established its position.
The rental of apartments, houses, or rooms for short periods of time has become a common form of accommodation for tourists and travellers. Online platforms have boosted the use of these services, which currently amount to nearly one quarter of the total tourist accommodation in the EU. Some member states have implemented different systems of registration that differ in scope, requirements (to be submitted by the hosts or the online platforms), and the level of administration at which the registers are managed (national, regional, or local).
On 5 March 2020, the Commission signed a voluntary agreement with the biggest online platforms for short-time accommodation rental services on data sharing. This has allowed Eurostat to collect data on this activity, but the agreement was not relevant for enforcement.
On 13 July 2022, a coalition for touristic cities, known as the “European cities alliance on short-term holiday rentals”, called on the Commission to propose legislation on registration and data sharing to better control the activities of platforms and hosts at local level.
Finally, on 7 November 2022, the Commission published its proposed regulation on accommodation services. The proposal, for which the Council has today adopted its general approach, is limited to the creation of an easy-to-use registration system with common provisions for establishing registration procedures and is not intended to regulate access to the market.