STRz Summit 2023 session focus: Smarter regulation for everyone

UK: In our second session focus feature ahead of the inaugural STRz Summit in London on Wednesday 18 October, we explore the regulatory landscape in the short-term rental industry, including the existential threats to the sector, discuss how to establish more proportionate regulations to ensure fair competition, and assess what comes next.

This session will provide a deep dive into the regulatory landscape, including the acceleration of professionalisation in the sector. It will also offer tips on how to move dialogue forward with regulators, and how the industry can combat negative public perceptions to continue innovating.


  • Steve Lowy, chairman, Association of Serviced Apartment Providers [ASAP], and British Educational Travel Association [BETA]
  • Máire Ní Mhurchú, chairperson, Irish Self-Catering Federation
  • Dr Amaryllis Verhoeven, Head of Unit, Digital Transformation of Industry at European Commission

Industry context

The short-term rental regulatory landscape is becoming increasingly blurred as markets around the world adopt legislation with varying degrees of stringency.

In the eyes of many within the industry, the segment has become a target for tighter regulation as the sector has become more mainstream and provides greater competition to more traditional lodging verticals, such as hotels. To its critics, short-term rentals are deemed to exacerbate existing issues with housing supply, drive up rental prices in neighbourhoods and encourage anti-social behaviour from groups that can also develop into disruptive, noisy parties.

With regulators coming under increasing pressure from local populations and national governments to crack down on illegal short-term rental activity [e.g. a property owner renting out their units for too many days, not paying enough in tax etc], potential laws being discussed range from licensing schemes to tourism taxes, limits on the number of days a property can be rented out on an annual basis, data sharing with authorities and partial or area bans [e.g. Amsterdam], and in some extreme cases, even an outright ban on short-term rentals [e.g. Malaysia].

Nowhere is the landscape more blurred than in Europe, where each country or market can currently adopt its own distinct regulations. For that reason, the European Commission is consulting on a proposal for more homogenised regulation across the continent that is designed to “enhance transparency” and “help public authorities ensure the balanced development” of a sustainable tourism sector. More news on the proposal is expected later this year.

Some of the markets consulting on particularly restrictive legislation around the world include Scotland, Ireland, France and Malaysia, although any laws that are brought will still require approval.

As the wider narrative towards the short-term rental industry has become more hostile, despite the growing demand for lodging of its type, advocacy groups [including Rent Responsibly] and organisations [the STAA, VRMA, EHHA and more] have come to the fore to push for proportionate regulations and consult with local and national authorities, highlighting their growing importance for the future of the industry.

This session will address all of the aforementioned points, including the growing professionalisation of the sector, advice for engaging in dialogue with regulators, and how the industry can continue to evolve and innovate while combatting any negative public perceptions.

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