Greek hoteliers are planning to take legal action against short-term rental companies which advertise and operate as hotels, said Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) President Alexandros Vassilikos this week.
In an interview to Greek daily Kathimerini, Vassilikos said the HCH would be appealing to the country’s regulator, the Hellenic Competition Commission, to take action.
Vassilikos announced the news during the presentation this week of the 17th annual study on “Hotel Satisfaction and Hotel Performance in Attica 2021”.
“We cannot continue to preserve a grey zone when it comes to short-term rentals whereby entrepreneurs acquire or lease entire blocks of apartments, transform them into rooms for rent, and by chance there is always a cafeteria on the ground floor serving breakfast; they advertise themselves as hotels on booking platforms online without having any such permit,” he said.
Vassilikos said the HCH jointly with the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) would be submitting a relevant file to the Commission. Additionally, he said, talks were underway to grant local governments jurisdiction to regulate short-term rentals as is now practiced in other European cities.
“Hoteliers are not opposed to a free market and healthy competition. But competition must be fair and no one can open hotels without any of the legal procedures that hoteliers must follow, including safety, firefighting protocols and a total of 27 permits and other certifications that hoteliers must obtain from competent bodies,” Vassilikos told Kathimerini.
The HCH has repeatedly tabled recommendations on the thorny issue but no actions have been taken as yet.
Short-term rentals were initially a way for crisis-hit Greeks to make a living. Today the practice, say hoteliers, has gone out of control creating unfair market conditions and in a time of Covid-19 posing a risk not only to safety but also to the livelihood of legally operating accommodation facilities and hotels.
Earlier this month, the Peloponnese Tourism Organization (PTO) also called on the government to take immediate action and implement controls on Airbnb-style tourist rentals.