The Beijing authorities recently issued a notice on the Public Consultation on Standard Short-Term Rental Regulation, which targets the home-sharing sector, specifically “urban shared homes” short-term rental properties that are leased by the day or by the hour.
Standardizing regulation for operators and online platforms
The regulation mandates operators of urban shared homes to follow community rules or decisions made by property owners’ corporations, acquire written consent from property owners, as well as abide by safety requirements related to buildings, fire protection, public security, hygiene and other aspects. Operators are also required to verify their guests’ identities in person before guests check in and submit the information online. Renting to people who do not have valid identification documents is disallowed.
The notice also specifies that online platforms are responsible for verifying the information of each listed property, including the identification of the owner and operator, and the property ownership certificate. The platforms should also register the identity and contact information of the guests, and submit all relevant materials as required by regulatory bodies.
Xiaojun Zhang, president of Homestay Inn and Boutique Hotel Branch of China Tourism Association, said that it was timely to introduce the regulations in Beijing as it met the city’s need for developing urban shared homes, and it was in step with the nation-wide trends on share-home development.
Short-term impact and long-term benefits of the regulations
An industry observer said that the proposed regulations would deal a blow to certain shared home operators and platforms in the short term, as sub-standard shared properties would be phased out, leading to a reduced pool of shared homes.
An executive of China’s home-sharing platform Xiaozhu believed that the regulations would cause short-term pain to the shared-home industry, but would help to resolve existing issues in the industry and promote its sustainable development in the long run.
Jinshan Zhang, director of the Institute of Tourism Industry Economics of Beijing Union University, said that short-term rentals played an important role in utilizing vacant properties, providing more choices and reducing accommodation costs for travelers, as well as enhancing a city’s popularity.
The Xiaozhu executive and Mr. Zhang suggested that the government provide more detailed guidance on the implementation of the regulations and guide operators to release information on compliant online platforms.