Several popular cities see market tension between Airbnb and longterm rentals for residents

Brussels (AFP) - An EU-wide data-sharing scheme for Airbnb and similar rentals to help crack down on illegal short-term lets is a step closer after negotiators struck agreement Thursday.

The provisional deal reached between EU member countries and the European Parliament aims to harmonise registration for properties used for Airbnb-style rentals across the bloc and their hosts.

Big online platforms would have to provide monthly activity reports to national authorities while small ones would have to do so every three months, said a statement from the European Council, which represents EU member states.

The deal, which still needs to be formally adopted by the European Council and the European Parliament, arose from friction caused by the short-term tourist rental market removing long-term rental properties from markets in cities used by residents.

The problem is especially acute in European tourist magnets such as Paris and Amsterdam, where there are annual caps on the number of rental nights on Airbnb or similar, and in Barcelona, where Airbnb is banned.

Authorities are also keen to ensure taxes from the sector are paid. Italy this month seized 779 million euros ($845 million) from Airbnb for alleged evasion of the 21-percent tax it was meant to have collected from landlords between 2017 and 2021.

Airbnb welcomed the EU agreement, saying setting “clear rules” across the European Union to replace the current patchwork of national laws on the sector was “a watershed moment for Airbnb and our industry”.

It said it hoped the new EU rules would serve as “a global example” for other markets to follow.

The US company, which hauled in a profit of $1.6 billion off $3.4 billion in revenue in the last quarter between July and the end of September, is seeing other cities around the world clamp down on the short-term rentals.

New York in September imposed a 30-day rental limit per year on such activity.

Tensions between the tourist rental market and cities’ housing stock in much-visited places has snapped back into focus since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and a bounce back in international tourism.

Hotel prices have soared in many destinations, in many cases even outstripping soaring inflation.