European Commission on Monday announced that short-term home rental portals such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Agoda will have to share some selected data regarding the number of customers with the EU authorities. Newlyn proposed EU rules on regulating the sector are seen as a game changer move in the industry.
The latest move from European Commission comes amidst increasing demands for higher regulations in the short-term home rental sector which has so far been controlled by some monopolistic players.
The sector is currently regulated by the national laws of each EU member country which poses another challenge for regulating these market players as a multinational agency. The new proposal will also help the European Commission to tackle the challenges posed by the intricacies of multiple national laws.
A few weeks ago, news agencies reported that companies such as Airbnb were pushing lower-income residents out of their homes in tourist destinations such as Paris, Venice, and Barcelona. This triggered a housing shortage crisis in these cities which doubled upon the lives of common citizens along with the high inflation and economic turmoil in these regions.
The newly proposed rules will help the authorities figure out the need for short rental accommodation for tourists in each region according to seasons and popularity. It will also help smaller towns and tourist destinations in rural areas to attract more tourists and travelers through online platforms such as Airbnb and Agoda. Statistics suggest that nearly one-quarter of all tourist accommodations in the European Union are in smaller towns and rural areas.
Reports suggest that the companies will have to face penalties for non-compliance with rules and regulations.
European Commission said in a statement that newly proposed rules will help to improve transparency on the identification and activity of short-term accommodation hosts. It will also help in laying out rules regarding the registration of short-term accommodation hosts. These hosts will also need to follow rules and regulations regarding registration and sharing of customer data with the relevant authorities of the European Union and national bodies.
The commission also said that the latest move will help authorities tackle the issue of fragmentation of user data which will also help in reducing the illegal listing of sites and accommodations.
The rules which are now in the proposal stage will have to be agreed upon by all member states of the European Union. Lawmakers who are part of the European Parliament should also give the green light in order for the rules to become law and enforceable.