It’s no news that Airbnb use has surged in the Czech capital. Last year, in fact, saw nearly 2 million nights booked through the popular platform, a 61% increase over 2016 and a higher number than European cities like London or Amsterdam.
But now, the city is starting to tighten regulations on the service.
Earlier this year, the city requested that financial data on local Airbnb users be turned over. Currently, authorities are reviewing the data to make sure that renters are meeting tax obligations.
Tomorrow, city councillors will meet to discuss a decree on Airbnb and other accommodation sharing services that would allow individual districts to set regulations on its use. Those regulations might include setting a maximum number of days a flat can be rented short-term, or restricting it entirely in some areas.
While Airbnb can be a great resource for travellers, the service has blamed by many for certain unwelcome developments in Prague across recent years.
Chief among those is an unbalanced real estate market in central Prague, with greatly surging prices and not enough flats to accommodate locals. An estimated 5,000 apartments are rented through Airbnb in Prague 1 alone.
The rise in Airbnb’s popularity has also led to a decline in the hotel industry. Despite a record number of tourists visiting the Czech capital, hotel bookings fell by an estimated 5% this summer.
Additionally, many locals have complained about the nature of Airbnb guests themselves, who may make noise late at night or clean up after themselves in spaces shared with other residents. The rise of short-term accommodation in areas designed for long-term living has unquestionably changed the character of many central Prague neighborhoods.
The new decree, however, seeks to change that. If approved, Prague districts will be able to set their own regulations on Airbnb use to meet the needs of their own residents.
Those regulations could include a number of provisions, according to Blesk, that could limit the number of guests allowed to stay in a flat, limit the number of days per year a flat could be used for short-term accommodation, or restrict the use of it
While Prague 1 mayor Oldřich Lomecký has expressed that any regulation must respect the rights of private property owners, he too feels the need for something to be done. Lomecký recently expressed support for a 60-night limit on accommodation booked through Airbnb or similar services in the city center.