With the explosion in the number of apartments available for short-term rental, the local authorities in Sopot have taken steps to regulate this growing part of the local tourism market.
Many cities around the world have found that the rapid increase in the availability of unregulated property available for rent has created problems and become more than a simple nuisance. The local authorities have reviewed the local market and are introducing solutions as well as searching for legal changes to underpin these solutions.
Sopot’s popularity continues to increase and in the 2019 tourist season more than 1.1 million people were recorded as having walked on the pier. This in itself reflects the increasing importance that tourism has for the local economy in Sopot.
One element of the services available to tourists in Sopot is serviced, short-term, rental apartments. Sopot City Council recently released a statement about the issues concerning short-term rentals and what it intends to do.
“……… for the sake of residents, as well as people dealing with short-term rentals and guests visiting Sopot, the city has decided to introduce a ‘Securely Operating Accommodation Premises Certificate’ (Certyfikat Bezpiecznie Działającego Obiektu Noclegowego)” the council wrote in its statement.
“The city is aware of the emotions that the issue of short-term rentals arouses among the residents of Sopot,” the statement continued. “Sometimes, they (residents) have to endure noise and they also complain about the lack of segregation of garbage by guests as well as raising security issues. However, there are no tools that would allow for a quick response and real help to residents in such cases. Sopot is a tourist city in which tourism revenues make up a significant percentage of the budget. Rental is also a source of income for some Sopot residents. There is no question of limiting their ability to make this rent, but certainly solutions are needed to regulate so as to avoid negative consequences associated with the renting of apartments.”
The Sopot authorities have prepared a draft of statutory changes in this matter, which they will forward to the Association of Polish Cities, the Association of Health Resorts and the Ministry of Sport and Tourism. However, before these changes are introduced, Sopot wants to take “…action which will result in the creation of a full database of accommodation in the resort, reconciling the interests of those renting their apartments, permanent residents and tourists.” In Sopot, those who conduct business ‘involved in the provision of hotel services in other (non-hotel rated) accommodation facilities, such as guest rooms, apartments, villas or hostels’ must be entered in a register kept by the president of the city.
The city is also introducing the ‘‘Securely Operating Accommodation Premises Certificate’. The certificate will be available to anyone who rents a property and who, in addition to the mandatory entry in the register, meets the requirements set out in the rules for the granting of the certificate.
“We hope that many people will be interested in receiving a certificate…The certificate will also increase the credibility of the premises among tourists and will also affect the quality of services offered. This year, during the season, once again there was prepared a database of apartments that remain out of the register and were still rented. The city, in cooperation with the Sopot Tourist Organization, took an inventory of these objects. Soon the owners of these premises will receive calls for registration and it will also be checked whether they have paid the property tax and the spa fee. At the same time, they will be offered a Certificate for the premises where they provide services.”