03 Aug European “brake” on Airbnb
Measures to restrict short-term rentals intensify again in various regions of Europe in response to overtourism, homelessness and sharp rises in rents, which have exacerbated the housing crisis. At a time when the relevant debate has begun in Greece, it seems that the issue needs to be carefully examined in order to find the “happy medium”. What is certain is that after the recession of 2020-2021 due to the pandemic crisis, short-term rentals are once again undesirable in many cities, especially considering that in the meantime no measures have been put in place to increase the supply of housing and alleviate the housing problems plaguing many countries.
In Greece, the relevant debate is based on proposals mainly from the hotel industry, which seek the suppression of illegally operating buildings with short-term rental apartments that provide hotel services, but without the corresponding operating label and of course without paying any VAT. At the same time, the recognition of the severe problem that is created, especially in tourist destinations, because of the inability of students and public officials to find accommodation has led to the consideration of other options, such as limiting the number of houses that can be rented out per TIN or setting a maximum permissible number of accommodation days per year in certain areas. It should be noted that the relevant measures have already been adopted since 2018, but have never been implemented, as they require a joint ministerial decision that has not been issued to date.
Of course, if a time limit of 90 days per year was imposed on the exploitation of apartments in the center of Athens, it is almost certain that most properties would be removed from the digital platforms, as it would be unprofitable to exploit them through short-term rentals. According to estimates by executives of accommodation management companies, an average apartment outside the historic city center needs to have visitors for at least 200 days a year, in order to be profitable. Otherwise, the costs are greater than the profit. Market officials note that, an influx in real estate would contribute to price rationalisation, not only because of the increase in supply, but also because of the blow to the psychology of the owners, who would feel that there are no alternative ways to make use of their property.
The present constitutes an extract of the article entitled “European “brake” on Airbnb – the restrictive measures implemented in major European cities – What is being discussed for the Greek market” published in the newspaper “Kathimerini” on 29.07.2023 available in Greek at: https://www.kathimerini.gr/economy/562544377/eyropaiko-freno-sto-airbnb/.