Cyprus Introduces Airbnb Law
The House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus passed a new law on Friday, 17th January 2020, The Regulation of the Establishment and Operation of Hotels and Touristic Accommodations (Amendment) Law of 2020 L.9(I)/2020 regulating the short term self-catering property rentals that are offered through online platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com (the “Law”). This was also published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus on the 7th of February 2020.
The main purpose of the Law is to address the problem of lack of regulation and indirectly tax evasion of owners of self-catering accommodation. The Law aims to regulate the short term rental of properties through the creation of a registry where each property will be assigned a specific number. The registry is to be managed by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism.
The Law covers both new and existing accommodation. A grace period of 2 (two) years has been given to existing owners of self-catering accommodation in order to adapt themselves and prepare for compliance with the Law. New landlords have to register immediately.
The Law provides that successful applicants will receive a license with a duration of 3 (three) years which can also be renewed.
The Law provides for three categories of self-catering properties which are Touristic furnished villas, Touristic Furnished Houses (meaning smaller lodgings) and apartments. Details and specifications of each self-catering accommodation will need to be provided to the Deputy Ministry e.g. size, capacity of how many persons can stay and facilities.
The Law also gives powers of inspection to the Deputy Ministry in order to ensure compliance with the Law and terms of license.
It was reported that the Ministry of Tourism, had meetings with platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com, which have agreed to make to request its users a registration number provided by the Deputy Ministry, before allowing homeowners to use their services. The platforms also agreed to provide authorities with transaction-related information.
It is estimated that around 20,000 properties in Cyprus are rented via Airbnb and other online platforms that are operating unsupervised. Regulating such properties will also prove beneficial for Cyprus tourism and is expected to attract more tourism in the Country.
Similar legislations have been introduced in other EU countries.