ARTICLE
14 March 2024

Short Term Rentals In Turkey: License Application Procedures & Airbnb Listings Of Luxury Residences

AL
ASY Legal

Contributor

ASY LEGAL is a boutique law office established by Ali Yurtsever and Emir Aksoy operating in the business center of Istanbul. Our attorneys provide an extensive range of counselling to cover our client's legal issue comprehensively. We ensure that our clients receive tailored solutions for their specific legal issues.
In recent regulatory developments affecting the short term rentals and Airbnb listings of luxury residences in Turkey, the government has issued a secondary regulation that refines the legislative framework ...
Turkey Real Estate and Construction
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In recent regulatory developments affecting the short term rentals and Airbnb listings of luxury residences in Turkey, the government has issued a secondary regulation that refines the legislative framework governing short-term residential rentals and the license application procedures. This is the secondary regulation to the Law introduced last year (covered extensively in our previous article) which requires owners wishing to lease their property for less than 100 days to secure a license, contingent upon the unanimous agreement of all owners within an apartment complex.

The requirement to obtain the unanimous agreement of all condominium owners posed significant operational challenges for property owners, especially for Airbnb listings in metropolitan areas located in apartments with multiple owners subject to condominium law. This is even more problematic for residential units located in newly constructed high-rises marketed as luxury residences with full-service facilities. To remedy these issues, the Regulation on the Organization of Activities for the Rental of Residences for Tourism Purposes (the Regulation) introduced certain exemptions, and further clarified the application procedures for the licenses.

I. License Requirements for Short Term Rentals & Airbnb

As reviewed in detail in our previous article, the Law sets forth that all short-term rentals (rentals up to 100 days) of residential units, including standalone villas and flats in apartment complexes, shall be subject to a prior approval and licensing by the government. Although there are several criteria set forth for these license applications, the most important one is the unanimous agreement of all owners within an apartment complex (this does not apply to standalone private villas). The Law also set forth hefty monetary fines for signing short-term rental agreements, or otherwise renting a residential unit for short-term without the proper licenses and approvals.

The potential of receiving hefty monetary fines coupled with the requirement for a unanimous agreement from all owners within the apartment meant that most Airbnb rentals within metropolitan areas would have to be delisted, as it would be nearly impossible to obtain a unanimous agreement from all co-owners in apartments (condominiums) with multiple independent units.

This was especially problematic for newly constructed high-rise residential buildings marketed and sold as luxury residences and condos. While the Law did include a specific provision for luxury residences in Article 3/10, it only noted that a permit may be issued without the need for a unanimous decision for luxury residences. In other words, while the Law did include the possibility of an exemption for luxury residences, it did not guarantee it.

II. Secondary Regulation Clarifies Application Procedures

To address these issues and clarify the status of Airbnb listings of luxury residences, the Regulation was introduced and entered into force on January 1, 2024. The Regulation defines in detail the application procedures, further clarifies the definition of luxury residences (noted as high quality residence) and sets forth clear exemptions for their application processes.

a. License Application Procedures

Article 5 of the Regulation sets forth in detail how the license applications will be made and the documents required to obtain a short term rental license. According to the Regulation, all applications related to this permit must be conducted through the e-Government (e-devlet) platform. This requirement is crucial; any application not submitted through this digital channel will not be processed and will be promptly returned to the applicant, potentially delaying the process.

Should the property in question be subject to specific rights, such as usufruct or right of superficies, the Law and Regulation mandates that the application be submitted by the holder of these rights rather than the property owner.

For clients with multiple properties in the same building, a streamlined process is in place. A single application will be sufficient for all properties registered under the same name, simplifying the submission process significantly. It should also be noted that if the applicant has obtained permit documents for other properties in the same building previously, this information must be disclosed in the current application.

b. Property Requirements

Article 9 of the Regulation also sets forth the minimum requirements for properties that will be leased for short term. These minimum requirements can be summarized as follows:

  • At least one bedroom, toilet-bathroom, living area, and kitchen layout.
  • Cold and hot water in the dwelling, beds in the bedrooms, one pillow per person, pillowcase, sheet, depending on the climate conditions, a blanket or quilt, one face and bath towel per person in the bathroom.
  • Chemical fire extinguishers and smoke detectors against fire in all sections except the bathroom-toilet with a fixed division, and a sketch showing the location of the escape ladder behind doors.
  • The furnishing, decoration, equipment, and devices used in the dwelling should be standard-compliant, clean, well-maintained, and in working condition.
  • The capacity of the dwelling; each bedroom is calculated to accommodate two people, with a maximum capacity of two additional people, excluding the number of bedrooms. Even if there are more rooms that meet these conditions, the maximum number of people that can stay in the same dwelling is twelve, excluding children under three years of age. No more users can be accommodated than the specified dwelling capacity.

c. Property Inspections

Following the issuance of a permit, a critical inspection is conducted within thirty days from the permit's issuance date to ensure the residence meets specified standards noted above. If a residence fails to meet the minimum required standards during this inspection, an administrative fine will be imposed as per the stipulations of Article 4 of the Law. A fifteen-day period is then provided to rectify the identified deficiencies. Should these deficiencies remain unaddressed by a subsequent inspection after this period, the permit is subject to revocation under the conditions outlined in Article 5.

Maintaining the standards and qualities foundational to the permit's issuance is also obligatory. After a license is issued, inspections for ensuring ongoing compliance are performed by personnel designated by the Provincial Directorate or, if necessary, by other staff appointed by the governorate. These inspections, set to occur at least biennially following the permit's issuance, are crucial for the continuous adherence to the regulatory requirements. Recommendations detailed in the inspection report are to be implemented as directed by the governorate.

This systematic process for inspections post-permit issuance highlights the regulatory emphasis on sustaining the conditions initially met for permit approval. Legal and administrative frameworks are in place to support compliance, ensuring that residences remain in accordance with the established standards and avoiding potential repercussions.

III. Exemptions for Airbnb Listings of Luxury Residences

Within the regulatory framework, a distinction is made for luxury residences, which are characterized by a set of high-quality features and services. The definition of a luxury residence, as outlined in the Regulation, references the criteria set forth in the Planlı Alanlar İmar Yönetmeliği (Planned Areas Construction Regulation). These residences are designed to meet at least the minimum residential conditions and are distinguished by the inclusion of services such as reception, security, daily cleaning, health services, dry cleaning, laundry, transport, dining, shopping services, as well as amenities like gyms and swimming pools. Such residences encompass multiple independent sections within their structure.

Article 5 of the Regulation introduces specific exemptions for luxury residences and standalone houses regarding the application process. Notably, the requirement for a unanimous decision by condominium owners, as mandated by both the Regulation and the Law, and the twenty-five percent condition mentioned in the fourth paragraph of Article 3 are waived for these types of residences. Furthermore, the Regulation permits the issuance of separate documents to the management company and one or more marketing companies within the same luxury residence.

This exemption is critical, particularly for luxury residences situated in high-rise buildings, where achieving a unanimous decision among a large number of condominium owners is exceedingly challenging. The flexibility provided by this exemption facilitates a more straightforward process for obtaining necessary permits for luxury residences, acknowledging the unique structure and operational dynamics of such properties. This nuanced approach ensures that luxury residences can comply with regulatory requirements while accommodating their distinctive features and the diverse needs of their residents.

IV. Conclusion

The recent regulatory updates in Turkey represent a significant step forward in formalizing and streamlining the process for short-term rentals, including Airbnb listings of luxury residences. By addressing the practical challenges property owners faced under the initial framework, particularly the requirement for unanimous consent among condominium owners, the government has shown responsiveness to the realities of the modern real estate market. The introduction of exemptions for luxury residences acknowledges the unique challenges and operational dynamics of these properties, offering a path forward that balances regulatory oversight with practicality.

The detailed procedures for license applications, property requirements, and the structured approach to property inspections ensure a standardized level of quality and safety for short-term rentals. This not only benefits property owners by providing clear guidelines for compliance but also enhances the experience and safety of tourists and renters.

Furthermore, the exemption for luxury residences from the unanimous decision requirement is a pivotal change. It simplifies the licensing process for a significant segment of the market that previously faced insurmountable barriers, thus potentially revitalizing the short-term rental ecosystem within these high-end properties.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
14 March 2024

Short Term Rentals In Turkey: License Application Procedures & Airbnb Listings Of Luxury Residences

Turkey Real Estate and Construction

Contributor

ASY LEGAL is a boutique law office established by Ali Yurtsever and Emir Aksoy operating in the business center of Istanbul. Our attorneys provide an extensive range of counselling to cover our client's legal issue comprehensively. We ensure that our clients receive tailored solutions for their specific legal issues.
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