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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 Booking.com 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.

Tranio's project — an apartment with a tourist licence along Trikoupi Street. The property is under renovation and will be available for lease in May 2018.

The two-bedroom apartment with a living room is perfect for a big family or a group of 4–6 people. The historical centre of Athens is a 15-minute walk away. The apartment will be furnished in a contemporary style, with new bathroom fixtures and high-quality repairs. A professional management company in Athens will manage its lease.

Price: €255,000
Total area: 85 m²
Yield: 6.6%

Apartments in Athens, Greece

Yulia Sterkhova, Tranio

Originally published on Keet Talking Greece

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