HOTREC makes recommendations to regulate short-term rentals in the EU

HOTREC, the voice of the European hospitality industry, calls for an EU-wide framework that will introduce clear and consistent information obligations for short-term rental platforms and accommodation providers and which will allow effective monitoring of short-term rental activities by local and national authorities.

In a new report focused on the short-term rental market, HOTREC provides clear recommendations on how EU-wide regulation could establish effective rules and measures to support the establishment of a level playing field in the industry. The HOTREC report was produced with the support of Toposophy.

“It is an encouraging moment for the European tourism and hospitality industry to welcome an EU regulation that could provide common solutions to the challenges posed by short-term rental services,” said the director general of the ‘HOTREC. Marie-Audren said.

EU proposal coming in autumn

The HOTREC report comes as the European Commission is expected to unveil its proposal for a set of regulations for short-term rentals (STRs) later this year.

“Updating this set of rules based on the needs of stakeholders, destinations and residents is the first step to ensuring a fair, transparent, competitive and sustainable environment,” added Audren.

According to HOTREC, over the past decade, short-term rental services in Europe have grown exponentially, exposing tourism and hotel businesses and local communities to several risks: unfair competition, exposure of consumers to security risks, undeclared tax revenues and, above all, growing pressure on local residents’ access to affordable housing.

In the report, HOTREC emphasizes that regulated accommodations (hotels) must meet labor, tax, environmental, intellectual property, safety, health, food and many other obligations.

“This, in the end, creates large barriers to entry and exit, unsought by the industry, which undermine flexibility and cause them to conform to heavy regulation unlike competing service providers (short-term rental owners),” notes HOTREC.

image source: Airbnb

Furthermore, the association stresses that effective, proportionate and fair rules for short-term rental services are essential to align the industry with other tourism service providers and ensure that the industry contributes effectively to the “real” economysupporting the renaissance of European tourism in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

EU-wide regulation – what is needed

HOTREC believes that any EU regulatory initiative on the short-term rental sector should be guided by the following objectives:

● Introduce a robust and efficient system EU-wide registration system that supports oversight by public authorities, facilitates compliance for hosting providers and aligns with data held by platforms.
● Preview clear and comprehensive data sharing requirements in line with the GDPR for hosts and platforms to ensure effective regulatory compliance and the development of statistics.
● Give municipalities the flexibility to set market access rules while clarifying how these rules comply with the requirements of the Services Directive.
● Support the collection of taxes due sharing all relevant data with national tax authorities and ensuring hosts are fully informed of reporting requirements.
● Make sure that guest safety and security and employees by applying standards comparable to those applied by regulated tourism service providers and facilitating local enforcement.

The association’s report is available here.

HOTREC is the umbrella association of Hotels, Restaurants, Bars and Cafés and similar establishments in Europe, which brings together 47 national associations in 36 countries.

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