LEGISLATORS on Tuesday said they wrapped up discussion of a bill regulating the operation of short-term Airbnb-style properties, and hoped to send it to the plenum before the House breaks for the summer recess in mid-July.
MPs came to a consensus regarding the ease with which individuals should be able to rent out apartments in residential buildings.
There had been two schools of thought on this:
- Under the first, anyone should be able to rent out their apartment. If subsequently the other residents in the building complain about nuisance, a provision in the law would allow them to file their complaint to the junior ministry for tourism.
- The other school of thought was 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.
In the end, MPs decided to go for the former.
As it stands, the bill 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 furnished villas, residences and apartments used for tourism purposes.
Earlier, it was heard in committee that there are approximately 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.