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Turkiye: The “Airbnb Law” – New Regulation on Short-Term Leases in Turkey

Turkiye: The “Airbnb Law” – New Regulation on Short-Term Leases in Turkey

Issue 11.2
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Ever since Booking.com’s activities had been suspended in Turkey by a court decision upon “unfair competition” claims raised by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), new regulations were anticipated in the short-term lease sector dominated by Airbnb, as unregistered and untaxed rental income obtained from short-term rentals has been a matter of discussion for a long time.

Against this background, long-awaited regulation was introduced on November 2, 2023, with Law No. 7464 on Renting Property for Tourism Purposes and Amendments to Certain Laws (Law), publicly known as the “Airbnb Law.” The Law includes important provisions regarding the conditions, obligations, and corresponding penalties in leases lasting up to 100 days, effective as of January 1, 2024.

“Renting Property for Tourism Purposes”

Although the scope of the Law is defined as “leases for tourism purposes,” renting of properties “for all kinds of purposes” for a maximum period of 100 days is deemed as renting for tourism purposes within the scope of the Law. Within this framework, the Law also forbids renting the same property more than four times within a year for a period longer than 100 days to prevent lessors from excluding lease agreements from the scope of the Law by drafting lease agreements with a term longer than 100 days, even if the lease relationship will last for a much shorter period.

Permit Obligation and Conditions

In order to register a property to be rented for tourist accommodation and to enable short-term vacation rentals of the property for a maximum period of 100 days, it has now become mandatory to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism before concluding the agreement. It is also obligatory to hang a plaque to be prepared by the Ministry at the entrance of the residence. To maintain order and prevent possible disputes between condominium owners, a decision taken unanimously by all condominium owners must be present in order for the apartment to be the subject of a permit for vacation rentals. However, in a residential complex with several independent sections, only the unanimity of the condominium owners of the relevant building will be required.

In addition, in buildings with more than three independent sections belonging to the same person, the issuance of permits is subject to certain limitations in order to prevent the building from being converted into an unregistered hotel. In such buildings, a permit on behalf of the same lessor can only be issued for a maximum of 25% of the independent sections, and if the number of independent sections exceeding this rate is more than five, a business license will be required. However, high-standard property (i.e., “residences”) regulated in accordance with the Condominium Law No. 634, where short-term rental activities are permitted in the management plan and where services such as reception, security, and daily cleaning are provided, will not be subject to the aforementioned rules.

Sanctions in Case of Violation of the Rules

The Law provides an administrative fine of TRY 100,000 for the first violation and a 15-day period for obtaining a permit for the person who rents their property without a permit in violation of the Law. If the rental activity continues without obtaining a permit at the end of this period, a penalty of TRY 500,000 will be imposed and another 15 days will be granted to remedy the violation. If a permit is not obtained within this period and the activities continue, the administrative fine will increase to TRY 1 million. In the event that the vacation rental is used in violation of public order, public security, or public morality, the permit will be canceled.

Other Limitations and Obligations

Capacity limitation: The capacity of the property is calculated in such a way that each bedroom can accommodate two persons. Except for the number of bedrooms, a maximum capacity of two persons can be added, and the total number can in no event exceed twelve people, excluding children under the age of three.

Sublease prohibition: In order not to lose control and supervision over the property rented as vacation rentals, sublease is prohibited.

Identity notification obligation: Provisions of the Identity Reporting Law No. 1774 will also be applied to the property for which a vacation rental permit is issued. Accordingly, the entry, exit, and accommodation status of persons will be recorded, and their identity information will be reported to law enforcement authorities, just like in businesses such as hotels.

By Tarik Guleryuz, Partner, and Selin Nacar Ozturk, Associate, Guleryuz Partners

This article was originally published in Issue 11.2 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.