A top member of an association representing short-term rental companies in Greece forecasts revenues for the state this year from the sector to exceed one billion euros, speaking on a podcast this week.

At the same time, Theoharis Michailidis, a founding member and general secretary of the Association of Short-Term Rental Companies, warned the government against imposing a ceiling on the number of days, per year, that owner can lease out their own property for short-term rentals – usually via the well-known online platforms, namely, AirBnB. He warned that such intervention by the state on private property use would mere “push many towards illegal activities”.

He also criticized a new annual property tax of 600 euros, imposed without sufficient consultation as he charged, contrasting it with previous discussions on VAT rates.

Short-term rentals have sparked debate within Greek society due to their perceived benefits and disadvantages. Government plans to revisit regulations stem from concerns over rising rents in the urban areas and the impact on neighborhoods.

Looking ahead, Michailidis projected that the state stands to earn at least one billion euros from short-term rentals in 2024, primarily through VAT.

He highlighted Greece’s surplus of housing , particularly in greater Athens, while underscoring the need to renovate these properties and address legal complexities involving owners who are state entities or non-profit institutions.

He also emphasizes Greece’s high rate of property ownership among individuals, stressing that these properties support livelihoods by funding education, mortgages, pensions, and contributing to the economy, rather than being managed by income-generating funds.

Managing short-term rentals has become increasingly complex economically and tax-wise, with stringent obligations including monthly declarations and payments for climate levies and VAT.

Regarding Athens’ historic center, Michailidis noted that Airbnb’s presence revitalized the area without displacing residents, focusing on repurposed industrial and craft buildings. The transformation has fostered a vibrant community of shops, restaurants, and rooftop bars, leveraging its prime location overlooking the Acropolis.

In light of affordability challenges, he highlighted nearby areas, offering more cost-effective accommodations within a 15-minute radius.

Airbnb in Greece has exploded over the past 10 years with many property owners initially using it as a model for supplementary revenue. Gradually short-term rentals, especially in urban centers grew, becoming a vibrant real estate industry that forced the Greek state to make legislative interventions.