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Airbnb-style rental law faces major issue

A bill designed to regulate Airbnb-style short-term property rentals is almost ready to be put to the vote, but one issue has to be resolved; the ease with which owners would be able to rent out apartments.

Cyprus Airbnb-style rental law faces major issueLAWMAKERS on Tuesday said they were almost ready to bring a bill regulating the operation of short-term Airbnb-style property rentals to a vote, although one major issue still needs to be ironed out.

The pending question relates to the ease with which individuals would be able to rent out apartments in residential buildings.

There are two schools of thought on this. Under the first anyone should be able to rent out their apartment. If subsequently the other owners in the building complain, a provision in the law would allow them to file their complaint to the junior ministry for tourism.

The other school of thought is that permission to rent out an apartment should be subject to the agreement of a building’s management committee or the majority of the apartment owners.

The legislative proposal provides for a three-year transition period to be afforded to current Airbnb renters to acquire a VAT number and comply with safety and health regulations – pre-conditions for registering their properties.

The aim is to create a dedicated registry for short-term self-catering accommodation and then taxing that income, bringing cash into state coffers.

Each property thus registered is to be assigned a number, which will be used in online advertising platforms so that punters may know whether the property in question is registered or not.

The bill covers villas, residences and apartments used for tourism purposes.

Earlier, the House commerce committee had heard there are an estimated 40,000 accommodations across the island being used for short-term rentals that are unlicensed and thus not subject to the legislation governing tourist lodgings.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Akel MP Costas Costa reiterated concerns that enforcing strict licensing criteria might disqualify many who now rent their properties on a short-term basis.

It could impact hundreds of families living in the countryside who rely on this practice to earn income, he said.

The legislative proposal will amend an upcoming law which is to be voted on February 15. The government bill governs hotel and tourist accommodation, and purports to simplify licensing and classification procedures.

The legislative proposal will be put to the House floor after the government bill has passed.

Readers' comments

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  • Hetty says:

    If you rent out your property to holiday renters from Airbnb or other sites, you change a home into a tourist accommodation, which is business!

    The Cyprus Property Law is very clear, it is not allowed to change a home into business or a business unit into a home.

    Why is the Government not protecting Residents on Complexes?

    Tourist accommodation belongs to Hotels, Holiday Resorts or Apartment buildings meant for tourist rental business.

  • Phil says:

    When I first read this I had to check the date today no it’s not the 1st April. “acquire a VAT number and comply with safety and health regulations” Take a long look at building works around this island and see where H&S is being fully employed. As for the VAT how many times have you not been given a receipt for works, services or purchases.

    Case over.

  • Synnove Vassiliades says:

    Many Holiday home owners that offer short term rentals when they are not using the property themselves, do not earn enough to have to register for VAT. They do not actually make any significant profit either and this results in the VAT on costs being higher than the VAT on income.

    So in these cases I do not see the state receiving any extra cash.

  • andrew michael says:

    First school of thought…..and what happens when reported to junior ministry of tourism?

    The second thought is going to be a nightmare to uphold. There are so many holes in that thought.

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