Business & Economy

CYPRUS: Airbnb-type accommodations to be legally regulated

12 June, 2019

Parliament’s Commerce Committee has completed discussion on a bill which regulates short-term lets of self-catering Airbnb-type accommodation that will go to a vote on Friday.

MPs have agreed a less stringent version of the bill put forward by ruling DISY’s leader Averof Neophytou and EDEK’s Elias Myrianthous.

The purpose of the proposed law is to regulate licensing issues and lay down technical and functional specifications for self-catering accommodation.

It will also to create a register by the Deputy Tourism Ministry for the listing of self-catering accommodation for inspection and tax purposes.

Amendments made to the bill cover furnished villas, residences or apartments which are not classified as a hotel or tourist accommodation but are to be included in the self-catering accommodation register.

The committee has abandoned previous thoughts on introducing restrictions on the right to short term lease apartments in shared buildings, removing the clause referring to the owner’s obligation to obtain approval from the majority of the tenants or the management committee of a block of flats.

MPs also agreed to extend the period of adaptation of existing self-catering accommodation from two to three years.

Amendments made by MPs entitle the Deputy Ministry of Tourism to carry out on-the-spot inspections of accommodation and to evaluate whether they meet the criteria for registration.

In previous comments to the Financial Mirror, EDEK MP Myrianthous, said the legislation will enable the state to monitor and perform health and safety checks on these types of accommodations, while owners will be subjected to tax.

He said that the bill will put an end to state revenues being lost, as this type of accommodations will now have to pay for licensing rights as some 40,000 properties are not licensed.

There are around 20,000 illegal villas and dwellings, with most owners interested in acquiring a license.

It is estimated that one-third of tourists arriving in Cyprus seek accommodation in non-registered units.

Hoteliers have also campaigned for the regulation of Airbnb-type accommodations as they cried unfair competition.

“Hoteliers who have significantly invested in upgrading their product and pay a significant amount of taxes to the state are currently subjected to strict regulations, while Airbnb has been excluded so far from these obligations,” said Zacharias Ioannides of the Cyprus Hotel Association.