Airbnb reaching agreement with Prague

The flat sharing service will likely require landlords to pay the city

Changes are coming to Airbnb in Prague. The accommodation sharing service is likely to enter into an agreement with the city that will require landlords to pay the city for each guest. The voluntary agreement could bring millions of crowns to the city each year.

"We cannot tell the exact figures at this point because we are collecting data on how much money is collected now and what proportion of short-term accommodation lenders are circumventing this obligation," City Councilor Hana Marvanová said, according to daily Pražský deník.

Airbnb last year provided data to the Financial Administration on its transactions in the Czech Republic, and thousands of people have had to pay income tax on the money they collected in rental fees.

The city is not the only entity addressing the issue. The Czech Chamber of Deputies has begun discussing a draft amendment that would unify accommodation charges and set an upper limit of Kč 50 per day.

Prague would like the amendment to also allow city councils and to have more control over regulating short-term accommodation by local decree. ANO is expected to propose the amendment.

Marvanová said she agrees with the idea, as short-term accommodation generates specific problems in certain locations.

In the event that Prague could introduce a decree, among other things, it would be possible to limit shared accommodation to a certain number of days a year or to ban it in certain areas. The maximum number of guests could be set, or a permit could be required for certain types of property.

Other cities have faced similar problems to those of Prague and have sought to regulate Airbnb. In Berlin, accommodation can only be provided by someone who lives in the real estate. Offenders face large fines.

Some part of Paris and Amsterdam allow short-term apartment rentals up to a maximum of 120 days a year. Paris also has laws stating the renters subletting via Airbnb cannot make more on the flat than they pay in rent themselves to the owners.

Vienna now requires mandatory registration of accommodation providers, which has helped to increase the amount of taxes collected.

Airbnb has been operating in the Czech Republic since 2009. In addition to Airbnb, there are similar services such as Flipkey, HomeAway, House Trip, Vacation Rentals, and Vrbo.
In Prague last year, almost 13,000 offers were found on Airbnb, the vast majority in the center.

In 2017 people booked 1.79 million overnight stays through Airbnb in Prague, which was 61 percent higher than the previous year. Full statistics for 2018 are not yet available.

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