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MPs table bill to tax Airbnb-style rentals

A bill to regulate and tax the income on short-term Airbnb-style property rentals has been tabled by two MPs and should go before the plenum prior to the parliamentary summer recess.

Cyprus MPs bill tax Airbnb rentalsTWO MPs have tabled a bill that aims to regulate and tax short-term property rentals like Airbnb.

According to Disy deputy Averof Neophytou, who co-authored the legislative proposal, approximately one-third of tourists stay in unregistered accommodation.

The bill aims to control this ‘illegality’, he added.

The proposal, which Neophytou said should go before the plenum before parliament breaks up for the summer holidays, amends the law on hotel and tourism accommodation by adding clauses setting out technical, operational and health specifications for self-catering accommodations such as those leased via Airbnb.

It will also create a registry of self-catering accommodation. The registry will be maintained by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

Anyone renting out their property short-term would be legally required to register.

Neophytou claimed the change would benefit thousands of households, since people would be able to rent their country villas or flats out short-term. In some cases, he predicted, the earnings might exceed a household’s normal income.

The income would then be taxed.

Although Neophytou said this sort of activity is currently illegal, it was not entirely clear whether this is true.

It’s understood that other than single-day leasing, which is unlawful, short-term leasing is not illegal.

Neophytou demurred when asked about the hoteliers’ position on the matter, saying only that regardless of their views the proposed measure “will help normal folk and households.”

The Disy MP suggested that a ‘transition period’ might be implemented once the law is passed.

Edek MP Elias Myrianthous, the bill’s other author, said that at a later stage parliament would be addressing the issue of the short-term rental of flats within apartment blocks.

Angelos Votsis, chair of the House commerce committee, explained that the bill refers to self-catering furnished tourism accommodation, and will mandate that these be leased in whole and not in part.

During an earlier discussion in parliament, it was said that at present there are some 20,000 country homes and holiday cottages that are unregulated but leased online.

Readers' comments

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  • sky says:

    anyway…another useless bill…people will be paid for their property rentals in cash, bitcoin paypal or whatever, on Greek or English bank accounts, like everything else they don’t declare to the tax department… and anyway nobody will dare enforcing the law…so…

    Before getting ridiculous money from taxes on Airbnb, they’d better think about how to recover NPLs (what? the lawmakers are the first not paying their instalments…? really…?)

    Cyprus, the disfunctional state…

  • natkin says:

    Maybe by doing this they hope to recover all the monies they haven’t received by not issuing Title Deeds.
    I do not think so!!!

  • Richard says:

    Given the flagrant incompetence many of us see from many Cypriot government departments, their attempt at trying to “control” a global social trend without eventually breaching anti-trust laws should be interesting enough to sell ringside seats for.

    Hotels all over the world are battling now with Airbnb – but their stance is not to regulate it – but increase value as an alternative to it. It’s called the ‘free market economy’ Cyprus – remember, that thing you signed up to when you joined the E.U?

    Perhaps someone in Cyprus is just bent out of shape that their cousin didn’t invent Airbnb?

    Airbnb works though….

  • Judith says:

    I understand that many of the “5 star” hotels along the Paphos sea front are unregistered, and therefore have no regular safety and fire tests. Perhaps start with them – Airbnb is not illegal as long as the owner is declaring the income! This is surely just a protest from a few big companies with government influence who are losing out as increasingly people are using the Airbnb model as they do elsewhere in the EU.

    I’ve used Airbnb in uk, Denmark and Australia … Mixed experiences but well worth the real experience.

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