Exclusive-Light touch rules for Airbnb set for EU agreement next week, sources say

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Business

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -EU countries and European Parliament lawmakers are set to agree on light touch rules for Airbnb next week, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The light touch approach contrasts with other recently adopted EU rules which take a tough line with Big Tech in an attempt to rein in their power and force them to do more to police their platforms for illegal and harmful online content.

The rules for short-term accommodation rental services, proposed by the European Commission last year, aimed to tackle the patchwork of different national laws across the 27-country zone regulating Airbnb and similar companies.

Officials from EU countries and EU lawmakers will meet to thrash out the final details of the rules on Nov. 15, according to the Parliament agenda.

The final version of the rules will be broadly similar to the Commission’s proposal which requires short-term home rental companies to provide data on the number of people using their services and how many nights they stay to national authorities, the people said.

The authorities will monitor their schemes and can put in place penalties for non-compliance.

Next week’s meeting will focus on technical details which are unlikely to derail an agreement, the people said.

Some will seek to bat away a proposal from Spain that would allow cities to ban Airbnb in certain areas and oblige people to pay registration fees.

Airbnb said EU-wide rules would be a watershed moment for short-term rental companies.

“We hope they will serve as a global example of clear rules that give guidance to platforms and authorities on how to share data and make proportionate rules work for everyone,” Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, told Reuters.

“We will take this opportunity to kickstart a new chapter in our collaborations with cities and governments and work together to protect housing and support sustainable tourism across the EU,” he said.

Paris, Venice, Barcelona and other places popular with tourists blame Airbnb for aggravating housing shortages by pushing out lower-income residents.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Evans)


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