The debate over accommodation via Airbnb is beginning to intensify and more and more cities are coming up with plans or concrete measures to limit this service. Amsterdam, for example, has responded very harshly recently, and Prague is also preparing a stricter regulation.
From the beginning of July, it is not possible to rent out apartments to tourists in the historic center of Amsterdam, and a fine of up to 20,750 euros can be imposed for violating the ban. In other parts of the city, apartment owners can provide short-term rental for only 30 days a year.
This is another heavy blow for Airbnb and similar platforms. It turns out that both local inhabitants and politicians in the town halls of many cities are running out of patience with mass tourist accommodation. There are two main reasons: the constant floods of tourists are inconveniencing the lives of residents living in houses with Airbnb flats, and at the same time, there is a lack of apartments for regular tenancy.
More powers for cities
Prague is also preparing to take some measures in the foreseeable future. The municipality will propose to the parliament an amendment to the Trade Licensing Act, which would allow for leases via Airbnb and other platforms to be more regulated. For example, it would be possible to specify a period during which this type of accommodation would be prohibited and ato limit the number of days per year allowed for short-term rental.
"At present, Prague doesn't have such legal possibilities as, for example, Amsterdam, Berlin or Barcelona, which would enable the city to regulate short-term accommodation on its territory. Following the example of European cities, we approved an amendment to the Trade Licensing Act at the Prague City Council, which fills a gap in Czech laws that do not allow cities to regulate short-term accommodation services through Airbnb-type platforms,” explains Councilor Hana Kordová Marvanová, who was authorized by the Prague City Council to negotiate with the legislators on this matter.
According to Kordová Marvanová, the reason for the planned measures is the long-term critical housing situation, especially in the centers of Czech cities. Most of the flats are not used for their original purpose, they are not intended for long-term housing, but are instead used as investment appartmentss and for tourist accommodation.
The apartments do not serve their purpose
"From my point of view, the main justification for the proposal of the law is the long-term situation, especially in the city center, that has not been addressed on the state level, thousands of appartments that do not serve their purpose, lack of not only rental appartments and the related depopulation of the historic center of the metropolis, which needs to be prevented," explains the councilor, adding that short-term rental has become just a lucrative business that does not bring any positives. She further points out that current legislation doesn't allow cities to do anything about it.
When could we see the changes manifest in reality? The proposal is currently being submitted to Parliament to be discussed by MPs and senators. It will also be assessed by the government. Any strict measures could therefor apply from next year at the earliest, everything will depend on the speed of the approval process and the final form of the law.
The proposed changes will include the following:
Municipalities or cities will now have the option of limiting short-term accommodation to a certain period of time.
They will be able to set special conditions under which it will be possible to offer accommodation.
It will be possible to determine the maximum number of simultaneously accommodated persons and the maximum number of overnight stays of tourists in one year.