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Authorities Crack Down on unlicensed rentals

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Authorities are tightening regulations on Airbnb rentals in Morocco, with a nationwide audit of foreign transfers that the  Exchange Office, in coordination with tourism and interior ministries, has launched.

The audit identified significant undeclared income from rentals in major tourist cities like Casablanca and Marrakech, with some individuals reportedly earned over 100,000 dirhams monthly by renting multiple properties.

Airbnb activity has boomed in recent years, but many operators haven’t complied with Decree No. 2.23.441, which requires licenses for tourist accommodation.

The new regulations mandate Airbnb licenses, safety inspections, and registration with local authorities.

To ensure compliance with regulations, the regional representative of the government authority responsible for tourism will visit the establishment seeking temporary classification and exploitation licenses. The inspection process prioritizes establishments with a minimum three-star rating and remains confidential.

If the application is approved, the license will be issued within a period of 30 days. However, if the premises fail to meet the necessary conditions, the competent local authority retains the right to revoke the accommodation permit.

The audit revealed diverse payment methods, including international bank transfers, PayPal, and money transfer services.

Some operators, identified as Moroccan emigrants residing abroad, were found using foreign nationalities, possibly to avoid regulations.

The decree specifies licensing requirements for all Airbnb rental properties, including the number of rooms, insurance documentation, safety certificates, and proof of habitability.

Authorities received the audit data and launched inspections in major cities to identify unlicensed rentals. The goal is to ensure compliance and proper licensing.

The Ministry of Tourism places great importance on advancing tourist accommodations, recognizing them as a critical link within the tourism value chain and a fundamental aspect of a tourist’s overall experience.

The new methodology aims to classify and regulate these operations, thereby ensuring the provision of high-quality services. This will be achieved through visits conducted by regional classification committees and discreet monitoring processes.

Tourism has emerged as one of the most flourishing sectors, with the Ministry of Tourism designating 2023 as a transformative year for the industry.

The number of incoming tourists has witnessed significant growth, with 5.1 million tourists arriving by the end of May 2023, reflecting a 20 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019.

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