Regulations on short-term tourist rentals between individuals: what impact for HomeExchange?

Over the past few years, several municipalities in Europe have introduced new regulations to govern short-term rentals between private individuals. 

After months of legal uncertainty surrounding home exchanging  in cities such as Amsterdam and Edinburgh, it has finally been decided that certain rules and limitations should also apply to our model. Indeed, some public authorities assume that the two practices are comparable, since members benefit not financially but "in kind" (by staying in the homes of their guests or other community members).

Through these regulations which aim to regulate the flow of tourists using short-term rentals between private individuals, the authorities are seeking to: 

  • combat mass tourism, which not only creates a nuisance for local residents, but also leads to a loss of available long-term rental accommodation for local residents and greatly affects property prices.
  • improve compliance with certain housing safety standards to reduce the risk of accidents such as fires.

Measures vary from city to city, but generally include obtaining a permit or license and a restriction on the number of guests and/or the number of overnight stays allowed in the year, accompanied by the need to provide a list of supporting and administrative documents. Certain types of accommodation, such as second homes and social housing, may also be prohibited from short-term rental and exchange.

Where does HomeExchange stand on this issue?

Because travel shouldn't be at the expense of local communities, and because we at HomeExchange are proud - and even make it our duty - to promote slower, more authentic, more sensible tourism, we understand and support governments' efforts to combat the nuisances associated with mass tourism and enforce safety standards.

Good accommodation is an essential need. It's because sharing is the most responsible use of resources that HomeExchange differs from traditional short-term rental platforms, and we believe that we should not be viewed and treated in the same way.

With 73% of listings on HomeExchange* being for primary residences, our model preserves the supply of housing for local residents, as it doesn’t lead to an imbalance or increase in purchase prices. What's more, there's no desire for financial gain on the part of community members, since no money is exchanged. In fact, 68% of HomeExchange members meet or call their guest/host** (which is nearly three times more than when they use short-term rentals owned by private individuals), and 85% say that the bond created with their guest/host is essential**.

Last but not least, our model also makes it possible for as many people as possible (the middle and lower classes in particular) to be able to afford a vacation, all the more so in these times of inflation, which has forced many people to reduce or totally eliminate travel-related expenditure in 2023.

"Thanks to HomeExchange, we've been able to discover destinations we'd never have been able to afford to go to otherwise."

Jennifer, HomeExchange member.

Our actions to defend the home exchanging model, and make the voice of the HomeExchange community heard

In cities where such legislation has come into force, we do our best to pass on information to the members concerned and invite them to comply with local laws. 

In parallel, we are also in discussion with the municipalities concerned to publicize our model, and demonstrate its fundamental differences from tourist rentals. We want to become a partner in the fight against mass tourism and the nuisance it causes, and work together on the best solutions to regulate the flows and their impact, while taking into account the benefits of home exchanging for local communities and economies.

We're convinced of these benefits, and determined to continue growing the HomeExchange community, to offer our members ever more exchange opportunities. We want to offer as many people as possible the chance to take advantage of these essential moments to disconnect, bond and recharge their batteries.  

We will therefore continue our efforts for as long as it takes with the relevant authorities, but also with members of parliament and the media, to proactively demonstrate the concept of HomeExchange, its benefits, its particularities and its major differences from short-term tourist rentals.

In some cities such as Amsterdam, HomeExchange resident members have themselves sought to make local authorities aware of the differences between rental and HomeExchange through various actions (petitions, questioning politicians, etc). These interventions have helped to delay the application of the law, and some measures could be reconsidered by the city of Amsterdam. We would like to thank our members for these citizen initiatives, which support and reinforce our own initiatives.

Connect to HomeExchange

*HomeExchange 2022 internal data

**socio-economic study conducted by HomeExchange in partnership with Goodwill management among 2,545 French HomeExchange members