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Helping HOTREC To Set Clear Priorities On The Regulation Of Short-Term Rentals Across Europe
min read
Jul 26 ― 2022
Back in 2015 when the ‘collaborative economy’ was barely getting off the ground, it would be premature to think that policymakers were on the brink of developing an EU-wide approach to the regulation of Short-term Rental (STR) services. However it was back then that we launched our partnership with HOTREC, the ‘voice of the hospitality industry in Europe’, with a report titled ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ which alerted policymakers across Europe to the need for a coordinated approach to updating legislation on the collaborative economy, making the marketplace safer for consumers and fairer for all regulated hospitality businesses. Since then, we have been supporting HOTREC in producing a wide range of resources both for internal use among its 47 member associations from 36 European countries as well as for policy advocacy and partnership-building at the EU level.
Drawing lessons from law enforcement and building common sense on STR regulations

Patience is a virtue, and our long-lasting journey is now reaching its most important milestone to date. Following the termination of a period of public consultation on December 13, 2021, the European Commission is expected to unveil its proposal for a set of STR regulations later this year. This is a unique opportunity for HOTREC to communicate clearly and towards different stakeholders that a set of effective, proportionate and fair rules for STR services is essential to achieving a wide range of objectives:

  • Ensure a level-playing field with other tourism accommodation service providers
  • Ensure that STR development does not undermine access to affordable housing for residents 
  • Protect the quality of life in neighbourhoods
  • Ensure that STR services effectively contribute to the local economy
  • Enable a responsible and sustainable development of STR hosting activities and support its contribution to the recovery of EU tourism

With this in mind, HOTREC commissioned TOPOSOPHY to produce the ‘HOTREC Position Paper on EU-wide Regulation of Short-term Rentals’, which brings together the knowledge and experience of leading destinations in Europe and North America to develop recommendations for EU policymakers. 

Using primary and secondary research, we examined the evolution of the landscape of STR services and regulations over an eight-year period (2014-2021). A comprehensive timeline of market updates, policy initiatives and legislative work for STR services is the output of this broad account of recent research. 

The report also incorporates valuable insights derived from a series of interviews with policy-makers and experts on STR regulations that were carried out in the second quarter of 2022. The purpose of this analysis is to clarify how and why the enforcement of STR regulations has worked well (or not) for destination authorities both before and after the pandemic.

What we’ve learned from the Enforcement of STR Regulations in Europe and North America

  • Neither local governments nor national-regional governments have managed to enforce STR regulations on their own -  instead, broad-based cooperation is required.
  • Easily accessible and instructive registration schemes help destination authorities implement fair and enforceable regulations for STR services.
  • Thresholds of rental days are likely to remain unenforceable unless data-sharing solutions are adopted by destination authorities and the full range of STR platforms.
  • STR platforms have considerable experience in buying time for their benefit as long as data disclosure is merely an option rather than an obligation.
  • Knowledge of market failures, stakeholder agendas and enforcement gaps is essential for ensuring the enforcement of STR regulations.

The report also summarises the types of data that the online platforms should be able to share with destination authorities under four themes.

  • STR Operator | Service Provider
  • STR Property | Location
  • STR Property | Features of Accommodation
  • Length & Volume of STR Services
Want to know more?
Download the HOTREC Position Paper On EU-wide Regulation of Short-Term Rentals
Got any questions?
Dr Pantazis Pastras
Senior Researcher
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