In efforts to ensure fair play, Greek finance ministry officials are examining measures to tackle a growing shadow hospitality sector resulting from unregistered short-term rentals which cost the economy some 250 million euros annually in lost taxes.
The ministry’s plan includes the creation of a home e-rental registry which will provide all properties with a special ID; collaboration with online rental platforms for the provision of information to Greek tax authorities; the execution of audits to ensure compliance; and the imposition of hefty fines of up to 50,000 euros for violations.
According to reports, shadow hospitality has replaced legal accommodation by some 70 percent taking a bite out of employment and revenues for the sector.
In the meantime, the finance and tourism ministries are drawing up an action plan, which, apart from a viable legal framework of operation for home rentals, will foresee a three-to-five percent levy to be charged on short-term rentals. Property owners leasing out their homes will also be required to join a special registry and limits will be set on the number of properties per owner as well as rental duration per year.
In the meantime, Greece’s hoteliers are urging the government to ensure that the sharing economy is fully integrated into an operational framework that ensures equal terms for all parties involved. According to Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) data, some 8,000 properties are leased out as shadow accommodation in Athens alone, with evading turnover in 2015 exceeding 2 billion euros and estimated to increase by a 30-50 percent rate annually.