Those involved in short-term house renting say they are not competitors to hotels. 60% of guests would not book a hotel in Budapest, but would instead choose a different location – says in the joint statement of the Association of Hungarian Apartment Lessors (Magyar ApartmanKiadók Egyesülete) and the Association of Responsible Short-Term Housing Lessors (Felelős Rövidtávú Lakáskiadók Szövetsége). The advocates said they had submitted a package of proposals to the Hungarian Tourism Agency on the regulation of the short-term housing market.
24 wrote on Friday that both the government and Budapest would like to limit short-term renting of housings. The reason behind the government’s proposal is to help the hotel industry, while the capital’s motivation is the skyrocketing of renting prices. Despite the common goal, there was no substantive agreement between the parties; however, they may soon strike down on Airbnb.
As of yet, the details of the regulation are unknown, but lessors are trying to show their concerns on public platforms in order to stand out for a regulation that is acceptable for them as well.
They emphasised that the two industries are not direct competitors of each other and in the case of a regulation that is strictly prohibiting short-term house renting in Budapest will massively benefit Vienna and Prague.
The hotel industry and the short-term house lessors should not compete with each other as, according to the findings of the Hungarian Tourism Agency earlier this year, the two industries represent almost entirely separate markets.
Both the capital and the Hungarian economy needs every visitor they could get as there are expected to be significantly fewer travellers due to pandemic, but because Hungary and the countries of the region have been particularly successful in combating the virus, they may be among the more popular destinations. It would be unwise to spoil this appeal with unnecessary restrictions – says Iván Somló, chairman of the Association of Responsible Short-Term Housing Lessors. However, advocates agree to the raising of price levels as well as punishing illegal lessors.
They also emphasised that after the coronavirus pandemic, the existence of Airbnb will be important to tourism as, according to their prediction, tourists will be specifically looking for smaller accommodations and apartments that are considered safer than large hotels. They also think that it may directly affect the ‘Budapest-brand’ if visitors do not have the opportunity to rent out apartments for the duration of their stay.
Here is how they summarise their standpoint:
All members of the sector welcome any decisions that will get rid of illegal lessors from the sector and help the fair taxpaying lessors, however, they oppose any ill-considered regulations that would lead to the disappearance of short-term accommodation renting and would cause a dramatic decline in the number of tourists.
In one of their previous articles, 24 wrote that in 2015, Airbnb offered 5,200 accommodations in Budapest. This number has almost doubled in the last five years
and according to a website monitoring the house rental market, there are currently 9,725 Airbnb apartments available in the capital. Most of these apartments (nearly 3,000) are in district VII., while district VI. and V. are its follow-ups.
In 2019, Amsterdam changed the rules for Airbnb rentals. Previously property owners were allowed a maximum of 60 nights a year (a restriction which did not affect tourism in slightest: it continued to grow). As of last year, thus pre covid, the Amsterdam City Authorities reduced the number of permitted nights to 30 per year, much to the jubilation of local residents. Once again, tourism did not decline as a result. Of course the Airbnb owners are going to be unhappy, but the writing is on the wall for unlimited Airbnb lets in cities around the world. Rathervthan complain, the owners should thank their lucky stars that they were not heavily regulated before. Airbnb is nothing short of a curse to the usual residents in blocks of flats and in the neighbourhoods where these rentals proliferate.