President of the Cyprus Real Estate Agents Registration Council Marinos Kineyirou on Monday called for stricter regulation of short-term rentals in Cyprus.

The council president highlighted the adverse impacts on the economy, particularly on the tourism and real estate sectors, stressing the need for government intervention.

“The way short-term rentals currently operate causes multiple problems in key economic sectors like tourism and real estate. The state loses tax revenue, and the effects impact society and citizens,” Kineyirou stated.

Kineyirou noted that short-term rentals, especially of apartments, drive up rental prices by reducing the supply of long-term rental properties.

“This is one of the reasons for the steep rise in rental prices, as a significant number of properties are removed from the market at a time of increased demand due to high interest rates and inflation, making home buying difficult,” he explained.

He also pointed out that rental prices surged after the mass adoption of short-term rentals in Cyprus. The lack of regulation for short-term rentals results in a range of problems, from misleading advertisements to inadequate property conditions, which harm Cyprus’ tourism reputation.

“Due to our involvement in the real estate market, we witness daily comical situations that damage the brand of Cyprus tourism and tarnish our country’s image. There are instances where apartment owners do not provide an accurate depiction of the buildings their properties are in, or they even use misleading photos to entice renters. When tourists arrive, they often find that what they rented is not what was advertised,” he said.

Kineyirou emphasised the urgency of the situation, referencing a Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (Keve) official’s statement from February, which said that “we have exceeded 6,700 accommodation units, with bed capacity surpassing 30,000”.

However, Kineyirou he pointed out that a simple search on the Airdna short-term rental platform revealed over 15,000 active short-term rental properties in free Cyprus, indicating a significant gap in registered and actual short-term rentals.

“The large discrepancy between the number of registered self-catering accommodations and those available for short-term rental on platforms leads to significant lost state revenue from taxes,” Kineyirou explained.

In addition, he called for the government to establish operating rules and control mechanisms for registered properties, as well as identify unlicensed ones.

“It is the responsibility of the state and government to finally close the loophole that works against both citizens and professionals in the real estate and tourism sectors,” he urged.

Finally, Kineyirou suggested that only hotels and organised residential complexes should be licensed for short-term rentals based on specific parameters and criteria.