Apartment owners in Czechia can still rent rooms on Airbnb, new court ruling says

The decision comes after the Prague Municipal Court had initially said that homeowners' associations could prevent short-term rentals.

Thomas Smith ČTK

Written by Thomas SmithČTK Published on 13.04.2023 11:27:00 (updated on 13.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Owners of individual apartments in a building are legally allowed to rent out their property for the short term, for instance on the rental platform Airbnb, the Czech Supreme Court (NS) confirmed Wednesday.

The ruling means that the homeowners' association of a building is unable to prevent a purchased property from being rented out. This comes following a legal dispute regarding an apartment in a building in Prague 1, which was advertised on Airbnb and similar short-term rental platforms.

What is a homeowners' association?

A homeowners' association is a community in an apartment building comprised of joint owners, which sets and enforces rules for the property and residents.

A multi-court debate

The Prague 1 case had been referred to the Prague Municipal Court in 2022 – the court initially took the side of the homeowners’ association, saying that if one apartment owner’s actions negatively affected others in the building, then the association had a right to intervene. The Prague court also pointed out that short-term rentals via websites like Airbnb risk violating tax regulations.

The flat owner took the case to the High Court in Prague, which ruled in the individual’s favor. This decision has now been upheld by the NS.

In pre-Covid 2019, an estimated 14,000 units of accommodation in Prague were being rented out on Airbnb. About 15 percent of all apartments in the capital’s Old Town were used for the platform, according to the Prague Institute of Planning and Development.

Czechia’s highest court said that, while homeowners’ association cannot prevent purchased apartments from being rented out short term, it can force the sale of the unit if the owner “violates his/her obligations in a way that substantially limits the rights of other owners,” as proven through evidence from fellow neighbors.

Many have blamed platforms such as Airbnb for contributing to the lack of apartment availability in Prague, high rent costs, and enabling raucous tourists. The NS ruling means that apartment owners will be free to lease out their property, which will help continue the usage of Airbnb-style platforms in the country.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more