Prague Plans to Turn Empty Airbnb Rentals into Homes for People in Need

prague airbnb people in need

Prague City Hall is aiming to cut the number of Airbnb-style short-term rentals and boost affordable housing in the city, according to Hospodářské noviny (HN).

Following the example of Lisbon, Prague wants to expand its housing stock and at the same time gain the opportunity to reduce Airbnb-type services. In the first phase, the Czech capital wants to acquire 50 flats that would be used by seniors and homeless.

The plan to rent apartments from private owners is in an advanced stage of preparation. “By the end of April, we would like to discuss the launch of a pilot project,” said Adam Zábranský, the City Councillor for Housing.

He added that the city will initially not be looking for apartments in the center.

Prague plans to spend CZK 10 million on rentals in the first year. “In the first year, the program will bring a loss of CZK 5 million, the following year, we should reach a break-even point”.

An impact report from the city’s institute of planning and development said the number of Airbnb outlets almost tripled from 5,537 in March 2016 to more than 13,000 in May 2018, representing a jump from 17,913 to 52,738 in the number of beds. Eighty per cent of available rentals are entire flats.

Deloitte calculates that a quarter of Old Town flats are rented out for tourist lets on websites — about 5,000 flats in Prague’s first district are available through Airbnb alone.

The district encompassing Prague’s city centre has lost many of its residents as tourism has grown, with registered voters totalling 21,556 in 2017, from 36,862 in 1990.

In the past election term, Prague sold 6,700 flats. Now the city owns 31,500 flats (7,700 owned by Prague City Hall, the remaining owned by city districts) – about 5 % of total housing stock.

Just over 9 million tourists visited Prague, which has a population of 1.3 million, in 2019, making it one of the most popular destinations in Europe behind only London, Paris and Rome, Euromonitor data shows.

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