A bill expected — once passed into law — to regulate an ever-growing shadow economy in Greece, is set to be tabled in parliament in the upcoming period.
The draft law calls for the creation of a registry where property owners renting out their homes as tourist accommodation will be required to sign up; places a limit on the number (four) of homes that can be rented out per owner; requires that the accommodation facility must be larger than 9m2 with natural lighting, ventilation and heating, and must be furnished and rented out without the provision of any service except for bed linen. Tax will be withheld on transaction and paid to tax authorities each quarter. Homes can be leased out for a total of 90 days in urban and popular tourist areas and for 50 days at smaller destinations.
According to the draft law, individuals found renting properties to tourists illegally will be slapped with fines of up to 5,000 euros. Hosts will have to meet the set requirements within 15 days after exposed violations or pay double the penalty.
The bill, initially planned to go to parliament in September, has been pushed back several times due to changes. The latest delay had to do with negotiations between the government and sharing platforms, which according to Greek daily Naftemporiki have concluded. According to the latest wording in the bill, ‘’sharing economy is a new way of distribution and consumption of goods, a novel economic model where parties do business mainly through digital platforms creating an open market for the temporary use of goods or services provided by individual holders’’.
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, which is estimated at being worth some 1.4 billion euros in Greece at the moment.
In the meantime, all the more cash-strapped Greeks are opting to rent out their homes in efforts to make ends meet. So much so that they are preferring to lease to tourists instead of long-term tenants.