According to proposed EU regulations, Airbnb and other short-term home rental businesses will need to share information on the number of users of their platforms, the European Commission announced on Monday. This is part of a light-touch approach to regulating this industry.
The proposal from the EU executive comes as well-known tourist destinations like Paris, Venice, and Barcelona accuse Airbnb of exacerbating housing shortages by driving out residents with lower incomes.
However, smaller towns and rural areas want to use online rental platforms to draw more tourists. These platforms make up 25% of all tourist accommodations in the 27-nation European Union.
The Commission’s proposal represents an effort to address the patchwork of various national laws governing Airbnb and its competitors throughout the EU, while attempting to balance the interests of cities and rural areas.
“The new proposed rules will help to improve transparency on the identification and activity of short-term accommodation hosts, and on the rules they have to comply with, and will facilitate the registration of hosts,” the Commission said in a statement.
“They will also tackle the current fragmentation in how online platforms share data and, ultimately, help prevent illegal listings. Overall, this will contribute to a more sustainable tourism ecosystem and support its digital transition,” it said.
“These proposals provide a framework for Airbnb to scale our collaborations with governments and make it easier for everyday Europeans to share their homes and follow the rules,” said Georgina Browes, Airbnb’s head of EU public policy.
According to Browes, industry and governments could collaborate more effectively to enhance data access, increase transparency, and address excessive local rules by adopting a more unified approach to regulation.
According to the proposed regulations, Airbnb and its competitors will be required to automatically share data with public authorities once per month regarding the number of guests and rented nights.
The authorities will keep an eye on their plans and have the power to impose sanctions for noncompliance.
Before the proposal can become law, it must be approved by lawmakers and member states of the EU.
The proposal from the Commission is comparable to a data-sharing agreement that Airbnb and the EU statistics office Eurostat reached two years ago, allowing public authorities to access quarterly published data on the number of people using its platform and the number of nights booked.
(Adapted from USNews.com)