All the more cash-strapped Greeks are renting out their properties to tourists in efforts to make ends meet while taking advantage of a vague legal framework, according to a survey by Danos Real Estate, Consulting & Valuation.
More than 30,000 properties are now available for short-term lease through internet platforms such as Airbnb, after the government decided last year to do away with a special accommodation sticker and duration requirements.
According to the firm’s report, Airbnb currently hosts some 2,500 listings for short term rentals in the greater Athens area with the provider withholding 10 percent of the fee. Koukaki, near the Acropolis, Plaka and Panathenian Stadium, is the most popular area for short term rentals.
In the meantime, management companies– such as eazybnb and guesteasy — have begun to emerge eager to get a piece of the action and a 15-20 percent commission on the rent.
“Undoubtedly, the so-called sharing economy trend is creating unprecedented conditions and business opportunities. It’s now a matter of establishing an appropriate legal framework for this to operate in a positive and fair way,” said Panagiotis Merekoulias, director of studies and assessment at Danos Real Estate, Consulting & Valuation, an Alliance Member of BNP Paribas Real Estate.
The trend has led many to invest in old properties in central Athens as well as to the alarming decrease in the numbers of homes available for long-term rent. A case in point is the seaside town of Hania on Crete, where Airbnb listings doubled this year.
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.
The finance and tourism ministries, meanwhile, 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.
The Greek state lost incoming tax revenue to the tune of 350 million euros and 15,000 jobs in 2014 due to the uncontrolled sharing economy, according to Grant Thornton.