Prague authorities will use the coronavirus crisis to get a firmer grip on short-term rentals like Airbnb.
Using state of emergency powers in place during the coronavirus pandemic, the Czech parliament’s lower chamber fast-tracked a plan allowing local authorities to better collect tax and other information on short-term lets.
“We want to get more information from Airbnb owners about the capacity of their apartments, how they are being used and the fees they receive,” said Prague’s mayor Zdenek Hrib
Landlords will now have to provide information on the location of a property rented through platforms like Airbnb, how often a flat was rented, the total payment received and identify the online service used to connect the owner with the client.
Airbnb listed nearly 12,000 properties in Prague last year, according to Prague’s development institute IPR. The district encompassing the city center has lost nearly half its residents. Registered voters totaled 21,556 in 2017 from 36,862 in 1990.
According to Deloitte study, only around 20 percent of flats rented via shared accommodation platforms involve a paying visitor actually staying with the owner. The remaining 80 percent are entire flats rented strictly for business.
At the moment, every fourth apartment in Prague’s historical district of Staré město is rented via Airbnb or some other shared accommodation platform, which leads to the depopulation of the city centre.
The number of tourists visiting Prague has increased in 2019, reaching 9.2 million visits so far. At the same time, accommodation capacities in the city’s hotels and hostels only increased by around 1.4 percent.
Prague is now the 22nd most visited city in the world.