Istanbul [Unsplash]

Tighter regulations proposed to address rising rents in Türkiye

Türkiye: The Turkish government is preparing to tighten restrictions on short-term rentals in the country in a bid to address rising rents in major cities such as the capital city of Ankara.

It comes as the Turkish Parliament considers a fresh bill put forward by the governing right-wing AK Party [Justice and Development Party], which, if passed, would require landlords and property owners to obtain permits from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to rent out their units to tourists. The owners would also be required to pay relevant taxes, display a sign in front of the building, and pay a fee as a result.

According to Bloomberg, the bill categorises rentals with durations of less than 100 days as “tourism-oriented”. Those who are found in breach of the proposed regulations could be threatened with fines of up to 100,000 Turkish liras [$3,600] for each housing unit flouting the law.

The government in Türkiye is proposing severe punishments for landlords and property owners because it wants to deter them from hosting short-term rentals, a market which it says is contributing to surging rental and housing prices and increasing the number of landlord / tenant disputes.

This escalation in prices, though, has been exacerbated by a widespread surge in consumer inflation across Türkiye, according to Bloomberg, which has been caused by a series of decisions made by the central bank in the years leading up to the housing crisis. Disputes have also grown in frequency due to the imposition of a 25 per cent annual cap on rental prices by the government, despite the country’s inflation running at over 60 per cent in annual terms.

In August, the Turkish culture and tourism minister, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy told a press conference in Istanbul that the government would bring in legislation to ensure that accommodation service providers are appropriately taxed and that host / property owner identities are disclosed with the relevant national authorities.

Ersoy also suggested that the short-term rental sector, as well as other factors such as the country’s earthquakes in February and May’s general elections, had had a detrimental effect on occupancy rates for hotels, even though the tourism industry in Türkiye had rebounded relatively well in terms of demand. It was reported that the number of tourists visiting the country in the first half of 2023 rose by 17 per cent, while tourism income shot up by 27 per cent to $21.7 billion.

However, Türkiye’s banking industry watchdog [BDDK] announced on the same day as the press conference that it had removed the option of paying in instalments on credit cards for international travel expenses, including direct and third-party bookings for accommodation and flight reservations.

Two major earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.8 and 7.4 struck central and southern Türkiye and northern and western Syria on 6 February, leaving thousands of buildings, including schools and hospitals, destroyed and infrastructure badly damaged. More than 50,000 people were killed and at least 15 million people were affected.

The editorial team at IHM [publisher of ShortTermRentalz] highlighted the charitable relief efforts of companies across the travel and hospitality landscape in response to the earthquakes.

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