Around 900 Lithuanian short-term rentals advertised on the Booking.com platform are operating illegally, according to the country’s Economy Ministry.
Around 60 percent of all accommodation offered on Booking.com in Lithuania do not have the required licenses issued by the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority (VVTAT).
According to Economy Vice Minister Vitalija Jankauskaitė-Milčiuvienė, the state cannot collect information on unlicensed short-term rentals and provide them with financial support if needed.
But the rentals are not completely illegal if their landlords have business certificates and pay taxes.
“Most of the accommodation places pay taxes but they are illegal under the tourism law if they do not register with the VVTAT,” Jankauskaitė-Milčiuvienė said. “If the rental is illegal, we cannot analyse complaints lodged by the customers.”
The entrepreneurs, however, say that the VVTAT licence is an example of unnecessary bureaucracy. According to them, the ministry should better communicate the registration requirements to the landlords as well.
According to Tomas Grižas, head of the short-term rentals’ administration company Houseys, the rental platforms, such as Booking.com, address customer complaints, so there is no need to worry about VVTAT.
Jankauskaitė-Milčiuvienė said that the Justice Ministry ce and various municipalities received information about unlicensed rentals. According to her, however, landlords will not be fined.
“We invite owners to register. It helps us to collect data on the tourist flows and make certain decisions. Registered service providers can also apply for state aid and the EU grants,” she said.