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Exclusive-Airbnb faces light-touch regulation under EU plan -sources

Illustration shows Airbnb logo

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Commission will propose light-touch rules for Airbnb and other short-term home rental companies, people familiar with the matter said.

Under the draft rules, short-term home rental companies will have to provide data on numbers using their services and how many nights they stay to national authorities, they said.

The data will be stored at a single digital entry point available to all public authorities, one of the people said.

The proposal, which the EU executive will announce next week, marks an effort to tackle the patchwork of different national laws across the 27-country zone regulating Airbnb and its peers.

"We want Airbnb to be part of the solution to challenges facing cities, which is why we have consistently championed the EU’s work to update its rules for technology platforms," a spokesperson for the company said.

"Airbnb put forward proposals for more clear, simple and harmonised EU rules that would unlock the benefits of hosting for everyday Europeans and give governments the tools they need to tackle speculators and overtourism."

The EU draft rules would be similar to Airbnb's data sharing agreement struck with EU statistics office Eurostat two years ago which allows public authorities to access quarterly published data on the number of people using its platform and the number of nights booked.

Authorities in Amsterdam, New York, Paris and other cities popular with tourists have blamed Airbnb for worsening housing shortages in their cities which have pushed out lower-income residents.

Smaller towns and those in the countryside however have been more welcoming, hoping to attract more tourists. The proposed EU law aims to balance the interests of the two sides.

Airbnb has in recent years tried to address such concerns by capping the number of days per year that homes can be rented out in central Paris, London and Amsterdam.

The proposed legislation will need to be thrashed out with EU member states and the European Parliament next year before it can become law.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by John Stonestreet, Gareth Jones and Jane Merriman)