Short-Term Rentals Continue to Evade Regulations

City leaders around the world are struggling to control the short-term rental market, which many fear is jeopardizing the housing supply and displacing longtime residents.

1 minute read

August 3, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Hand painted fabric "Barcelona is not for sale" in Spanish banner hung on a building in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain is one of the many global cities where residents are pushing back against the proliferation of short-term rentals that cater to tourists and remove housing units from the long-term rental market. | Melissa K Sharp / Adobe Stock

“Fearful of seeing long-term rental housing drain away to the tourist market, governments have experimented with a flurry of rules” to regulate short-term rentals (STRs), but no city has quite gotten it right, write Feargus O'Sullivan and Jessica Loudis in Bloomberg CityLab.

Some cities ban short-term rentals altogether; others focus on specific neighborhoods; yet others implement regulations such as owner occupation or caps on the number of nights a property can be rented. “But the effectiveness of these tools and rules have been brought into question in many cities that are struggling to overcome enforcement challenges — and outwit rental property owners who are determined to wriggle around the rules.”

The article describes the situation in cities including Copenhagen, Denmark, where short-term rentals have proliferated despite a ban on full-time STRs. Barcelona, Spain, which enacted strict regulations, still “struggles to control the market. Inside Airbnb estimated that 30% of the 15,655 Airbnb properties listed in the city at the end of June were illegal, having been posted with false license numbers.”

The article goes on to describe policies implemented in cities around the world, but concludes that the landscape will continue to shift as hosts seek out ways to circumvent rules and fees.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023 in Bloomberg CityLab

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