Airbnb, Booking-Sharing Competitors and Authorities Under Proposed EU Rules

Airbnb and other short-term rental companies will have to share data on the number of people who use their platforms under proposed EU rules, the European Commission said on Monday, in a move that would ease regulation of the sector.

The EU official’s proposal comes as tourist hotspots such as Paris, Venice and Barcelona accuse Airbnb of exacerbating housing shortages by evicting low-income residents.

But small towns and rural areas are seeking to attract more tourists through online rental platforms, which account for a quarter of all tourist accommodation in the 27-nation European Union.

The Commission’s proposal marks an attempt to address the problems of different national laws across the EU that regulate Airbnb and its competitors, while trying to balance the interests of cities and rural areas.

“These new proposed rules will help improve transparency in the identification and operation of temporary accommodation hosts, and the rules they must comply with, and will facilitate the registration of hosts,” said the Commission’s statement.

“They will also address the current differences in how online platforms share data and, ultimately, help prevent illegal listings. All in all, this will contribute to a sustainable tourism system and support its digital transformation,” it said.

Reuters only reported on the Commission’s proposal on November 3.

Under the proposed rules, Airbnb and its peers must share data about the number of guests and nights rented with government authorities, once a month, in an automated manner.

Authorities will monitor their programs and may impose penalties for non-compliance.

The proposal will need to be agreed with EU countries and EU lawmakers before it becomes law.

The Commission’s proposal is similar to the data sharing agreement that Airbnb made with the EU statistics office Eurostat two years ago allowing public authorities access to data published quarterly on the number of people using its platform and the number of nights booked.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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