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What is the proper way to lease Greek real estate on Airbnb

European countries are trying to regulate their short-term rental markets – Barcelona has restricted the issue of rental licences in its central districts, and Portugal has made it mandatory to show the official rental license number of any property when it’s advertised online. What measures is Greece taking in this area?

Athens is Airbnb’s top city in terms of supply growth speed at year-end 2016 (+112%).

What is the proper way to lease Greek real estate on Airbnb?

This year has been the most successful year of late for real estate in Greece. The volume of international investments made during the first seven months of the year grew 72% from the year before. According to Greek media outlet Ekathimerini, over €500 million will be invested in local real estate in 2017. This is due to:

  • Low prices. The price per square metre has not increased since the 2008 crisis and remains one of the lowest in Europe. According to Numbeo, real estate in central Athens costs €1,420/m² versus €4,590/m² in Berlin, €9,670/m² in Paris and €14,650/m² in London.
  • Economic stabilisation. The IMF anticipates Greece’s economy to grow by 2.8% in 2017, and the EU expects the GDP to increase annually by about 2.2% until 2019.
  • Tourist growth. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, Greece will have 26 million international tourist arrivals in 2017, and almost 40 million by 2027.

Online platforms Airbnb and allow any investor to lease property easily. Just like many other European countries, Greece is trying to regulate its short-term rental market, and has approved the introduction of restrictions for apartment owners.

According to Greek law, there are two types of short-term rental properties: those with a tourist licence, and those without.

Apartments without a tourist licence

According to the law, which goes into effect on 1 January 2018, a number of restrictions are imposed on apartments leased via online platforms without a tourist licence:

  1. The property cannot be rented out for more than 90 days a year, and not more than 60 days a year on islands with less than 10,000 inhabitants. The rental term may be longer if the owner’s annual income does not exceed €12,000.
  2. The investor can lease no more than two rental properties.

In order to lease the property, the owner must register it with the Short Term Residence Real Estate Registry (Μητρώο Ακινήτων Βραχυχρόνιας Διαμονής), maintained by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (Ανεξάρτητη Αρχή Δημοσίων Εσόδων, Α.Α.Δ.Ε.). The owner receives a special number that must be indicated advertising on online platforms. Subsequently, the owner will have to notify local tax authorities about leasing the property.

How will Greece monitor compliance with the law? Audit teams of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue and the Ministry of Tourism’s employees will examine the properties displayed on the platforms:

  • Failure to register the property or indicate the obtained number when publishing the advertisement will incur a €5,000 fine.
  • The amount will be doubled if the violations are not rectified within a year. The fine will be quadrupled the following time.
  • Failure to inform the tax authorities of property lease will incur a penalty in the amount of double the daily rent as of the date of audit. Failure to provide the statement on time results in a €100 penalty.

Benefits of having a licence

Apartments with a tourist licence can be leased without restrictions.

The tourist licence (EΣΛ) is issued by the Greek National Tourism Organisation (Ελληνικός Οργανισμός Τουρισμού, EOT). Apartments with tourist licences do not have to be registered, and owners only need to indicate the license number when advertising online.

The following is required to obtain the licence:

  • application form;
  • construction permit;
  • fire safety certificate;
  • sewer compliance certificate;
  • fee receipt;
  • architectural design copy; and
  • police clearance certificate for the property owner.

The paperwork takes about two months and costs €3,000 to €5,000. To obtain the licence independently, the owner needs to hire an engineer, a lawyer and other professionals to provide assistance in filing the documents and receive the consent of neighbours.

For international investors, it is easier to buy an apartment for which the licence has already been issued. It is permanent, and the new owner will only have to file an application and provide a police clearance certificate.

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  1. Looks like a pain in the arse whichever way you go. And I would imagine the taxman will want a good chunk of what anyone might earn. For someone with just a single room or garsoniera to rent, an EOT badge isn’t worth the aggro, and if you can only rent a maximum of 90 (or 60) days, it’s hardly worth the trouble of getting registered either.

    So unless he can find some way round all the paperwork, it looks like poor old Dimitris won’t be able to supplement his meagre pension with a bit of holiday rental to ease his later years.

    Still, the big hotel chains will be happy to take the business that Dimitris is no longer able to provide.

  2. It is important to have fire safety and general safety standard certificates for the property one wishes to rent out,you cant rent things that are substandard in building quality because this is earthquake land.Some places dont look like their build is sub standard.Most hotels do have to abide by a set of rules because people must be protected when staying somewhere.However some Airb&b renters want a lot for very little money,even toothpaste they moan about if its not there for them,and they are only paying thirty five euro per night for a two bedroom house.Some are charging two and half thousand per day so its lots of earned cash but for those charging thirty five per day just to pay the property tax and even twenty five a day(and people still find things to moan about at that price)then its a cruel move by the ‘milkers’.Obviously people wont do all this ridiculous stress so let the moaners go and pay in hotels,teach them a lesson and the ‘Milkers’

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