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Prague to join European cities’ appeal concerning Airbnb

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Prague will join several European cities’ appeal for the European Commission to start dealing with an all-EU regulation of short-time accommodations platforms like Airbnb, the City Assembly decided today.

Separately, the City Hall is negotiating about a national regulation in this respect with the Regional Development Ministry. Its two previous proposals were rejected by parliament.

The appeal has been addressed to the EC by representatives of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Munich, Paris and Vienna.

Based on the City Assembly’s decision today, Prague Councillor Hana Marvanova is to arrange for Prague’s joining of the appeal.

“This is no signing of an agreement, it is only an informal joining of an initiative,” Marvanova said, adding that talks between the signatory cities’ representatives and the EC may take place in February.

As for the regulation on the national level, Marvanova said the plan, which fell through two times recently, seems promising now. A team comprising representatives of Prague and the Regional Development Ministry is to meet in early February for the first time to prepare a draft regulation. Supported by the government, the plan will have a bigger chance to succeed, Marvanova said.

She said Prague will demand that the accommodation platforms be bound to release information about the number of rented flats. Furthermore, Prague wants to be empowered to regulate this type of service in the city.

Other measures should be the reinforcement of powers of flat owners’ associations and an amendment of the construction rules so that they reflect the situation where even apartment houses in the center of Prague are often used as hotels, Marvanova said.

She said that almost 11,500 Prague flats have been rented for short-time accommodation. On the home-sharing platforms, up to 80 percent of the flats are offered to clients as a whole, not as shared with the permanent dwellers, she said.

The accommodation platforms have mainly been criticized by residents in the center of Prague, who complain about noise in the night streets and in houses, where permanent dwellers have been replaced by flats serving within Airbnb and similar platforms such as Flipkey, HomeAway, House Trip, Vacation Rentals and Vrbo. About 20 percent of flats in the center of Prague has served this purpose, according to the City Hall’s analysis from 2018.

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