Legislative proposal regarding the rental of residences for tourism purposes in Turkey and amendments to other laws

The continued demand for alternative accommodation in Turkey’s tourism sector is turning the short-term rental of second homes into a new branch of the trade. This growing practice prompted Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (“Ministry of Tourism”) to take concrete steps to determine the criteria for renting housing to both individuals and legal entities for the purposes of tourism.

Thus, on October 10, 2023, with the aim of developing a comprehensive strategy, the Ministry of Tourism presented its “Legislative proposal for the rental of residences for tourist purposes and changes in other laws” (“Legislative proposal”) to the Turkish Parliament. The legislative proposal includes provisions on the activities, restrictions and penalties to be carried out in the secondary rental sector and aims to protect the peace and order of other condominium owners in residential areas and to prevent potential conflicts between them. Furthermore, it is also intended to prevent buildings which cannot be converted into ‘accommodation facilities’ being used for this function and therefore degrading the general texture of the surrounding residential area.

The legislative proposal, which also includes amendments to the Law on the Promotion of Tourism No. 2634 (“Tourism Promotion Act“), is expected to enter into force in the coming months.

We provide highlights of the legislative proposal below.

Rules regarding the rental of housing for tourist purposes

The legislative proposal mainly defines the procedures and principles related to the rental of residential properties. Within this framework, it specifies the issuing of permits, administrative sanctions and legal provisions applicable to residences rented out for tourist purposes.

  • Rentals for less than 100 days are included in the scope of the legislative proposal

Within the scope of the legislative proposal, rentals for tourism purposes are defined as the rental of housing for maximum period of 100 days and for all purposes.

In Turkey, since employees who work in some sectors usually stay in the places where they work for more than three months, leases of more than 100 days are excluded from the scope.

The legislator tried to prevent circumvention of the threshold of “100 days” and the obligations that should be the subject of the legislative proposal, by providing among the sanctions an administrative fine of 1,000,000 Turkish liras (approx. EUR 33,780) regarding “those who rent the same dwelling more than four times within one year from the date of the first contract, although they enter into a tenancy agreement for more than 100 days each time”.

  • A permit certificate must be obtained

For those who hired before the legislative proposal came into effect: According to Temporary Article 1, those who currently rent residences for tourism purposes must apply to the Ministry of Tourism for a permit certificate by the end of February 2024. Those who fail to comply with this obligation will be subject to the sanctions listed below.

For those who hire after the legislative proposal comes into effect: Landlords will be required to obtain a certificate of authorization from the Ministry of Tourism, the fee of which will be determined by the Ministry of Tourism, before signing the relevant rental agreement.

The basic rules regarding the permit certificate are expected to be as follows:

  • The Ministry of Tourism may also exercise its permit-issuing authority through the provincial governor.
  • It is a requirement that the plate prepared by the Ministry of Tourism be placed at the entrance of the respective residence in parallel with the practice of hotels.
  • Applications for permits must include a decision unanimously adopted by all condominium owners in the building where the individual unit is located, stating that the tourism rental activity is considered appropriate by the condominium owners. In residential complexes consisting of multiple independent units, this requirement will apply only to the building in which the housing subject to rental for the purpose of tourism is located, and a copy of the permit will also be provided to the management of the site.
  • In buildings with more than three detached units, a maximum of 25 per cent of the detached units may be let to one person. For example, in a complex with 40 detached units, if the landlord owns 14 units, he will be able to obtain permission for a maximum of 10 units.
  • The procedures for issuing a certificate of authorization will be completed within three months from the date of submission of the application.
  • Those whose applications are not accepted will not be able to work. However, users’ rights will continue until the lease expires.
  • The onus is on the lessor to obtain a certificate of authorization, but you will be able to benefit from the intermediary services of legally certified travel agencies when carrying out activities related to letting for the purpose of tourism.
  • The person renting the dwelling from the permit certificate holder is prohibited from subletting the dwelling to third parties.

If the same landlord owns more than five independent units in the same building

If the number of independent units subject to the issuance of a permit certificate exceeds five in the same building under the name of the same landlord, the legislative proposal requires the landlord to obtain a business license. In this context, the following must be submitted in the application for a certificate of authorisation:

  • business license; and
  • if the dwelling that is the subject of the application is located in a building with more than one independent unit, the decision shall be made unanimously by all condominium owners.
  • Obligation to notify identity

The provisions of the Identity Notification Act[1] will apply to dwellings that have been granted a rental permit for tourist purposes. For this reason, the holder of the authorization certificate will be considered as the person responsible for the notification obligation. Accordingly, the permit holder will be required to notify the relevant law enforcement authorities, such as the gendarmerie or the police, of the identity information of the occupants of the rental unit through the Identity Notification System.

  • Sanctions provided for in the Legislative Proposal

The legislative proposal includes a detailed penalty clause for each activity. The provisions on the main sanctions are summarized as follows:

  • A person who rents out a residential unit without a clearance certificate shall be punished with an administrative penalty of a fine in the amount of 100,000 pounds (approx. 3370 euros[2]) for each dwelling and 15 days are given to obtain a permit certificate.
    • The person who, within this 15-day period, carries out activities without obtaining a permit certificate, shall be punished with an administrative penalty of a fine in the amount of 500,000 TRY (approx. 16,890 EUR) and they are given another 15 days to obtain a certificate of authorization to carry out their activity.
    • Administrative fine from 1,000,000 TRY (approx. 33,780 EUR) is imposed on those who continue their activity without a certificate of authorization, despite the application of these two paragraphs.
  • If the cry issued by the Ministry of Tourism it is not displayed at the entrance of the residenceadministrative penalty fine in the amount of TRY 100,000 (approx. EUR 3,370) is imposed and a period of 15 days is given for the exposure of the plate.
    • If the plate is not displayed within 15 days, an administrative fine of 500,000 TRY (approx. 16,890 EUR) are imposed.
  • If a person who has rented the residence (for tourist purposes) from the permit holder, rents the same residence to third parties in his name and at his own expense will be penalized with an administrative fine of TRY 100,000 (approximately EUR 3,370) for each agreement.
  • If a person who has rented out the residence from the permit holder to use it as a residence/residence in his own name, rents out the same residence to third parties for the purpose of tourism and to be in his own name shall be punished with an administrative penalty of a fine in the amount of TRY 100,000 (approx. EUR 3,370) for each agreement.
  • Intermediary service providers who allow e-commerce and advertising activities in connection with the rental of housing for tourist purposes without a certificate of authorization shall be penalized with an administrative fine in the amount of TRY 100,000 (approx. EUR 3,370) for each dwelling.

Articles to amend other laws

In addition to activities related to housing rental for tourism purposes, the legislative proposal also amends some other laws in Turkey, such as the Cappadocia Region Law, the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency Law, and the Revolving Fund Law of Ministry of Culture.

1. The most important of them is Article 13 of the Legislative Proposal, which amends the period for obtaining a tourist activity license, regulated by the Law on the Promotion of Tourism. The period of “one year” provided for in the relevant article is shortened to “six months“.

“Accommodation places that have received a license to carry out activities from the authorized administration in accordance with the Law on the Promotion of Tourism are obliged to obtain a license to carry out tourist activities from the Ministry of Tourism within six months from the date of receipt of this license.’

In addition, a temporary article has been added to the relevant law. Accordingly, on the effective date of the article, for facilities that have previously received a business license but have not yet received a tourism activity license from the Ministry of Tourism, certification will be granted within six months, provided that application made within three months. Otherwise, these sites will not be able to carry out accommodation activities, and their licenses will be revoked by the authorized administration within one month after notification by the Ministry of Tourism.

2. Another amendment concerns the payment of a “tourist share”[3]: The relevant article stipulates that a “tourist share” will be collected from residences rented for tourism purposes to be used to finance the Tourism Promotion and Development Agency. Accordingly, the lessor is obliged to pay the tourist share as %0.05 of the total rental income during the payment period.

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