Prague wants to join other cities in creating a European-wide Airbnb regulation!

Prague City Hall is requesting that the EU amend its e-commerce framework to include short-term rentals.

The City Council of Prague has approved a proposal to collaborate with other European towns to explore tourist short-term lodging options. In a joint letter, ten major European cities ask the European Union to reform the legal frameworks for short-term rental platforms. qatar real estate

“The biggest difficulties our cities face are increasing urbanization, more tourism, and persistent housing shortages. One of the associated issues is that it is becoming increasingly profitable for property owners to remove their homes from the long-term accommodation market and rent them out for shorter periods of time. The city halls of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia, and Vienna have already signed a declaration saying that short-term rentals are largely for visitors at the expense of citizens and families who want to live and work in our cities.

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“Our cities continue to draw students, teachers, healthcare workers, police officers, and other individuals looking for a place to call home. It is our responsibility to make every effort to accommodate them. The majority of our cities, however, are experiencing persistent housing shortages,” the statement says.

These issues are also present in Prague. “Affordable housing has also been a major issue in Prague. Prague's population has grown by more than 12% in the last 15 years, amounting to about 150,000 [people] in absolute terms. At the same time, Prague is a popular tourist destination for visitors from all over the world,” said City Councilor Hana Kordová Marvanová (United Force for Prague), who is in charge of legislation, public administration, and housing support.

“Traditional lodging has been greatly boosted by the manner of accommodation through online platforms giving short-term accommodation over the last ten years,” she noted.

According to data from the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Praha), about 3 million tourists stayed in Airbnb rooms in Prague in 2017. According to IPR data, about 11,500 flats in Prague are utilized for short-term housing, with one-fifth of those in the historical center. It can be as much as a quarter in Old Town.

“From an international perspective, the available data show that Airbnb, for example, offers more accommodation in Prague than in Budapest, Warsaw, or Vienna, the towns in our close vicinity,” Kordová Marvanová stated.

Prague also has an above-average number of hosts offering two or more properties, as well as an above-average percent of full properties not shared with the host (meaning the host does not reside there). In the case of Prague, there is a substantial departure from the shared short-term accommodation paradigm, which is obvious in Germany, for example.

“The provision of short-term accommodation services for apartments, particularly those in the city center, is associated with a number of negative phenomena, ranging from ineffective tax and charge monitoring to nuisance for local residents to security risks associated with the movement of large numbers of strangers in homes. As a result, it is more than desirable for Prague to join the call to the European Commission, which has been launched by ten European cities facing a similar issue in terms of short-term accommodation services offered via online platforms,” Kordová Marvanová stated.

The cities that have signed the letter, which Prague wants to join, view the major issue as antiquated European-level e-commerce regulation that was enacted before the significant growth of online platforms that offer shared lodging via the Internet. Overnight stays in European cities have increased by more than 50 percent in the last ten years, according to the cities.

“The major problem, according to Prague and the other cities who signed the declaration, is that platforms are not required to share rental data with tax and fee administrators, and that platform responsibility laws is difficult to implement in countries where they do not have platform headquarters. Adjustments at the European level in the field of short-term renting via online platforms would provide a much-needed consistent framework from which national and/or regional legislation controlling this activity might be derived,” said Kordová Marvanová.

In the past, Prague has attempted to regulate Airbnb by cracking down on hosts who do not pay the proper fees and taxes. The city has also begun to detach key boxes from public property.

In 2009, Airbnb made its debut in the Czech Republic. According to CzechTourism, expert evaluations reveal that Airbnb's sales volume in Prague has already surpassed that of traditional lodging facilities.

Other services, such as Flipkey, HomeAway, House Trip, Vacation Rentals, and Vrbo, are available in addition to Airbnb.

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