Today (7th November), the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation to enhance transparency in the field of short-term accommodation rentals. This proposal aims at creating streamlined data collection and sharing obligations for hosts and online platforms. It should replace the current different and complex rules in Member States by one clear and proportionate framework for data collection and sharing throughout the EU Single Market. The new rules should complement existing instruments, such as the Digital Services Act or the Directive on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation (DAC7), which already provide public authorities with certain tools and data.
The new proposed framework (Regulation is a directly applied EU legal act in Member States) should:
- Harmonise registration requirements for hosts and their short-term rental properties when introduced by national authorities: Relevant authorities will have to set up an online and simple registration process for hosts. Information and documentation to be provided will have to be necessary and proportionate. Once the registration procedure is completed, hosts will receive a unique registration number that will allow them to start their activity. Public authorities will need to make short-term rental rules available on national websites, so that hosts could also benefit from clear information and requirements could be respected. According to the proposal, national and local authorities retain the power to design rules and policies on short-term rentals, to deal, for instance, with health and safety issues, urban planning, security and taxation issues. In doing so, they have to respect the principles of justification and proportionality enshrined in the EU Services Directive. The data collected on the basis of this proposal should allow public authorities to better assess the situation on the ground and make more targeted and proportionate rules. The new rules also stipulate that public authorities are responsible for setting up a registration system. Existing registration schemes, at national, regional or local level, can be maintained but will have to be in line with the requirements set out in this proposal. For instance, public authorities will have to ensure that registration is possible online and to issue a unique registration number per property.
- 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 shall support well-targeted policy making. Public authorities, whether at local, regional or national level, will be able to request information only relevant to them. This information will be available to them via the new national single digital entry points, where platforms will make this data available. In practice, this means that, for instance, authorities from a city will only be able to request data about their city but will not get access to the data of hosts in another city, or to the data of hosts in the surrounding regions. Public authorities receiving personal data on hosts and their activity will be duly identified and authorised to receive it in full compliance with rules on personal data protection, in particular the General Data Protection Regulation. Platforms will only share the data listed in the proposal +DAC7+DSA.
- Lighter data sharing regime for SME platforms: As a rule, platforms will have to share data on a monthly basis automatically. However, micro and small platforms that do not reach a monthly average of 2,500 hosts will have the possibility to benefit from a lighter regime
- 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.
Commission noted that “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.“
TIMELINE (1+2 years):
The Commission’s proposal will be discussed in view of adoption by the European Parliament and the Council (EHHA notes – for a year or so).
After its adoption and entry into force, Member States will have a two-year period to establish the necessary mechanisms for data exchanges.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Proposal for a Regulation on data collection and sharing relating to short-term accommodation rental services
Questions & Answers
Thanks to the European Holiday Homes Association for this update. The ASSC are founding members of the EHHA.