Slovenia: Ministry of Economy proposes stricter rules for renting apartments and houses

A new hospitality law recently submitted for public consultation introduces stricter rules for renting apartments and houses for tourists on platforms such as Airbnb. Service providers will have to register, have an identification number and obtain certain permits while facing high fines for violating the new rules.

The Ministry of Economy has drafted the hospitality industry bill following a growing trend in short-term rental of private properties for tourists in recent years. Over 9,700 pieces of apartments or houses in Slovenia were advertised on Airbnb in 2019, generating 66.5m euros in revenue, he said.

According to Slovenian media, the figure compares to the combined revenue of 2019 generated by Slovenian tourism companies Istrabenz Hotel and Terme Krka with their 17 high-end hotels, the ministry added. There have been many rule violations in the short-term rental business, while property owners do not have to get permission from other owners in multi-apartment buildings.

The new trend also has a negative impact on the competitiveness of other, traditional accommodations, while also affecting housing policy in major Slovenian tourist cities. The draft law allows short-term rental of their homes or rental or holiday homes with up to 15 beds up to 30 days for a natural person as owner, a sole proprietor as an individual, an association or a legal entity.

The service provider must obtain a permit from the municipality in which the property is located, while for buildings with two or more apartments, the municipality may limit the period in which such lease is possible.

The service provider who rents out their property or rents to tourists in a multi-apartment building for up to 90 days a year and has up to five beds will be required to obtain the consent of 75% of apartment building owners. Service providers will also need to be registered in the country business register, the main public database of all businesses. They will need to obtain a special identification number for marketing purposes. The number will not be public, known only by the service provider and oversight bodies.

An individual or legal entity will face a fine of 4,000-10,000 EUR for failing to obtain a municipal permit or permit from other property owners. A fine of EUR 40,000-100,000 has meanwhile been provided for a legal entity running a public booking platform to prevent rental service providers from displaying their identification number. The draft law, submitted to a public consultation period at the end of last week, also facilitates strict definitions of individual types of hospitality institutions.

The change was driven by the emergence of new types of accommodation such as glamping or other innovative types of outdoor accommodation and by the fact that the boundary between food and beverage establishments, such as a café, confectionery, snack bar, often is unclear while still highly regulated by law. This occasionally has a negative impact on the development of innovative products.

If the new law is passed, the hospitality institutions will be able to determine their own working hours, while the municipalities will still have an opportunity to limit it, however only in the period between 22:00 and 6:00.

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