Airbnb has today proposed and committed to support authorities as they enforce new responsible and harmonized EU rules that get tough on property speculators, while making it easier for everyday Europeans to welcome guests into their homes. Providing a solution to outdated and fragmented rules that vary greatly across the bloc, Airbnb’s proposal would unlock the benefits of hosting for millions of EU citizens and help address challenges associated with property speculators and overtourism.
Airbnb’s proposals for new EU rules are set out in The EU Host Action Plan, which the company launched today in response to the EU Commission’s short-term rental initiative consultation. Airbnb previously led calls for the EU Commission to launch its consultation in parallel to ongoing work on the Digital Services Act and to give governments the tools they need to regulate short-term rentals effectively.
The announcement comes as new data highlights three EU trends on the benefits that Airbnb travel is generating for regular Europeans, which the company believes are here to stay:
- The Airbnb EU community is predominately everyday (“peer”) Hosts. The EU is home to 1.34 million Hosts—more than any other region in the world—and 1 million of these Hosts rent just one listing.
- The popularity of Airbnb in Europe continues to grow. Across all of Europe and since Airbnb began, Hosts on Airbnb have welcomed more guests than any other region in the world, and the profile of guests staying with EU Hosts is more European than at any point in history.
- Airbnb is helping Europeans benefit from travel in their communities on an unparalleled scale. While industry-wide tourism activity across the EU fell during the pandemic, the positive impacts of Airbnb travel in the EU grew. The number of EU jobs supported by travel on the platform increased to 5.1 jobs per 1,000 guests in 2020 from 4.7 per 1,000 guests in 2019, driven by increased guest spending and longer stays on Airbnb*.
Last year, Airbnb CEO and Co-Founder Brian Chesky said: “When we started Airbnb, it was about belonging and connection. This crisis has sharpened our focus to get back to our roots, back to the basics, back to what is truly special about Airbnb — everyday people who host their homes and offer experiences.” Launching today, The EU Host Action Plan aims to safeguard the benefits generated by short-term rentals in the EU while giving governments the tools they need to regulate short-term rentals effectively and tackle potential negative impacts, based on five pillars:
- Establishing an EU host register: A new EU-wide host register would ensure that hosts have access to fair and proportionate rules, and retain their right to provide services as a fundamental freedom of the EU. A common EU system that replaces local registration would streamline registration, especially for everyday hosts who are disproportionately affected by burdensome local rules. Airbnb would support this process by ensuring only those hosts with an EU registration number are allowed to publish listings on the platform.
- Clarifying local rules and introducing safeguards for everyday hosts: As we work to create more economic opportunities for everyday Europeans to participate in the travel economy, we must also have a way to address cases where an over-concentration of STR speculator activity can negatively impact residents. This includes an EU policy approach which allows local governments to take action to limit property speculators. Local authorisations should also be permitted moving beyond an EU Host register, to the extent these local rules are reasonable and proportionate and notified to the Commission, whilst safeguarding everyday Hosts from excessive restrictions.
- Supporting enforcement: As well as removing listings that do not show the necessary EU registration numbers, Airbnb commits to expanding access to the City Portal to support enforcement actions for local authorities and to further support and empower everyday hosts. With more than 100 partners globally, the City Portal is Airbnb’s purpose-built tool to support public sector regulation by providing insights on Airbnb’s presence in neighborhoods, tools to help enforce laws, and better access to Airbnb when needed.
- Greater access to data: Airbnb commits to working with EU policymakers to share data on host activity at the EU-level, and to ensure that local and national authorities have the necessary data to manage effective enforcement. As EU officials continue work on a harmonized approach to income tax collection via DAC7, we see our support of this work as one way that communities can help keep the economics generated by travel on Airbnb for themselves.
- Supporting local communities: Airbnb will continue to work with governments and authorities across the EU to make Airbnb part of the solution to the challenges they face. This includes expanding our Neighborhood Support Lines to tackle noise and nuisance, leveraging our flexible travel tools to help guide guest demand to where it is needed most – as both a tool to generate economic development and disperse the concentration of travelers – and working with more governments and tax authorities to simplify and automate the payment of tourist taxes, through which our collaboration has already seen €315 million of tourist tax revenues remitted to EU authorities**.
“The majority of EU Hosts on Airbnb rent one home to help make extra income. Our proposals give governments the tools they need to crack down against property speculators while allowing everyday Europeans to share their homes to supplement their earnings.”
Chris Lehane, Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Communications
You can read Airbnb’s ‘EU Host Action Plan’ in full here.