The popularity of short-term rentals offered, among others, via the Airbnb website has been growing for many years. This is a completely new type of tourist accommodation service, being a kind of combination of traditional hotel services with classic apartment rental. Certainly one of the most important advantages, among all the benefits that short-term rental has to offer, is certainly a competitive price. However, many hoteliers and boarding house owners indicate that such a low cost of renting apartments available under Airbnb is the result of non-payment of taxes and, therefore, action in the so-called gray economy.
This is the issue that the government and the Greek Tax Office have been dealing with for some time. Owing to the amended legal regulations, the owners of rooms and flats offered under short-term rental were obliged to register their activities. This operation will only be possible until the end of this week, that is, until February 28th.
According to the estimates of local offices, currently over 83 thousand are offered for this type of rental in all of Greece. houses and flats. Government sources also say that Crete alone has nearly 13,000 this type of objects. Officials estimate, however, that due to the growing popularity of Airbnb, the number of flats and houses offered for rent can reach up to 100,000.
The Greek Tax Office announced that the lack of notification of this type of activity may be tantamount to imposing a fine of up to 30,000. €. However, owners of rented objects are not the only entities that have to take into account the consequences of breaking new regulations. Last year, a representative of the Greek Tax Office announced that with financial restrictions reaching up to 100 thousand. € owners of intermediary services (including Airbnb) must also be counted. In the case of these entrepreneurs, a penalty will be imposed when they refuse to provide officials with information about facilities located in Greece that are offered for rent on their services.
Of course, one can be outraged that such regulations limit the freedom of activity to some extent and are a kind of bureaucratic muzzle. It is worth remembering, however, that as we wrote earlier, one of the most important elements of this regulation is the fight against the gray area. It is hard to disagree with the owners of boarding houses and hotels (especially the small family ones) who complain that they are not able to compete in price competition with rental offers of apartments on such a website as Airbnb.
The dark side of the popularity of short-term rentals is also the limited availability of housing for people living in the area of popular tourist destinations. The relatively high income generated from this type of activity means that an increasing number of home and apartment owners are giving up permanent long-term tenants. Another consequence of the popularity of websites like Airbnb is the increase in rental prices.