In recent weeks the internet has been rife with rumours concerning the workings of the legislation covering short-term property rentals in Turkey. Technically, this is “the implementation of the legislative decree on amendments to the ‘Identity Declaration Law.’ Within the context of the State of Emergency in Turkey, this law became applicable from 30/10/2016.
In view of this, last Friday I visited Hakan Oğuz, Sergeant Major of the Fethiye Gendarmerie Garrison Command Centre. He is responsible for informing the public and implementing the legislative decree in the Fethiye region.
The meeting was really useful and interesting, not least due to the extremely helpful attitude of Sergeant Major Hakan Oğuz. He is fully aware of the problems that both foreign and Turkish property owners might face regarding short-term property rentals in Turkey. He is also very conscious that disseminating information during the initial stages of the implementation of the legislation is particularly important.
Seven questions seven answers
Based on my own and other enquiries I hear from my clients, I asked SM Hakan Oğuz the following:
DŞ: What exactly is this new system for short-term property rentals in Turkey and what is its purpose?
HO: This legislative decree is applicable to all residential property – apartments and houses – let on a short-term basis. Previously, only businesses with 30 or more beds had to inform the policing organisations about their guests’ details.
The new legislation was introduced following the discovery of various terror groups using short-term property rentals during their terrorist activities. As far as the gendarmerie is concerned, our primary purpose is to ensure public security. Our target is to locate wanted persons.
There is also, of course, the taxation department’s involvement in terms of declaration of income from short-term rentals. The tax department [Maliye] can access the gendarmerie database using an Identity Declaration System. It is an online database of property used for short-term rentals.
Gendarmerie General Command provides the necessary software, free of charge. They collect the information and scan the names of guests for security purposes.
DŞ: Who should register with Gendarmerie GIYKIMBIL system (Identity declaration system)?
HO: If the property is used for short-term letting purposes (paid or not), the owner or an individual/consultant representing the owner must register. In this context, the person who is given the online connection password is considered to be the person responsible for carrying out the administration.
The Authorised person/entity is required to provide the gendarme database with the Names, TC Identity numbers and Passport numbers of every new guest, using the software provided, free of charge.
DŞ: How do people register?
HO: If you are the owner, you must visit the gendarme headquarters at 2nd Karagözler [Ed: or wherever you have to if you aren’t in Fethiye]. Bring originals and photocopies of your TC ID card or Passport / residency permit, as well as the document showing the address of the property to be used for rental purposes. This can be obtained from the local muhtar or the local government house in Fethiye town centre from the Population Registry Office – Nufus Müdürlüğü – (the Registrar of the Population Office)
If you are representing the owner; bring the original and a photocopy of their TC ID card, Passport, the agreement you have entered into with the owner [as the authorised person], the address declaration form and contact details.
DŞ: What happens next?
HO: We will file these documents, explain the legislation and operation and give you a short training session on to how to use the Identity Declaration System.
After you download the free software from the Gendarmerie website, you enter into your dedicated page, using the password provided by gendarmerie.
You are then obligated to enter the details requested every time you have a new guest. The authorised person or the actual owner can enter the requested data online (even from abroad).
DŞ: We hear that even if the place is empty, we need to enter this fact every day on the database. Is that correct or do we only enter details when and if we have a guest (paid or otherwise)?
HO: You do not need to enter any information if no one is using the property. Whenever you have a guest, their details must be entered into the gendarme system.
It is not as complicated as it sounds! I must also add here that your readers should not believe anyone who tries to sell you software for this purpose.
The software is provided free of charge by us.
Some opportunists out there may have developed their own kind of software, using well-intentioned owners for monetary gain.
No software can have access to our software application for any purpose. Do not fall prey to promotions by anyone who tries to sell something for this purpose.
DŞ: How will you monitor the activities of owners/representatives?
HO: We not only rely on public reports, we will physically monitor properties using our patrol teams. Public security is our fundamental duty. We are authorised to knock on doors and query the identities of the occupiers.
We have been gathering the details of agents, as well as larger businesses, for some time. However, our expectation is full cooperation from owners, so that we can work together to create and sustain a safer and more secure environment.
I guess the tax department and/or the councils will develop their own methods of monitoring activities related to their area of work. As I said, our main aim is to ensure security in Fethiye.
This is a new system and it will take some time to regulate the activities of short-term rental businesses. By the way, at the time, owners were requested to register within two months of the date of the legislative decree. It is now clear that not all the public were informed. So, owners are once again requested to act as soon as possible if they wish to continue using their properties as holiday lets.
DŞ: What happens if you find out that an owner/representative has failed to comply with the system for short-term property rentals in Turkey?
HO: Not obtaining a password is a breach of law. Not providing documentation to gendarmerie is a breach of law. Not making declarations/ not providing names of guests to identity declaration system is a breach of law. Making false declarations is a breach of law.
There will be no ifs or buts and no warnings.
Once the owner/representative has a password he/she is responsible and failure to comply will result in a fine of 10 thousand TL. The business licence will be cancelled in the event of a second breach.
For your information
The new Identity Declaration system, which relates to short-term property rentals in Turkey, is primarily for the protection of public.
Although it is less complicated than people may have previously thought, it is clear that failure to comply has serious consequences.
In addition to this, there is also the Taxation side to short term /and long-term property rentals in Turkey. This will be the subject of my next interview.
Who is Doğan Şahin?
Doğan is a graduate of Selcuk University Faculty of Education in Turkey. He lived abroad for about 20 years. He is a Professional English language translator and interpreter accredited by National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters in Australia (NAATI) and has successfully provided Contracts-Legal translation services to international official and private organizations for over 30 years.
He is registered as an expert witness at Muğla City Justice Commission. He has published four books, two of them being translations. His articles on Tourism, History and Social Life as well as Blue Cruise Holidays have appeared in many journals and newspapers.
For more information contact Doğan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Caveat: The details contained in this article on legislation regarding short-term property rentals in Turkey are up to date at the time of publication.
Fethiye Times and the other related parties are not responsible for any subsequent changes that do not appear in this article.
UPDATE & STOP PRESS
Since publishing this article we have been informed by other sources that talks between the Revenue Office (Maliye) and Policing forces continue regarding whether an individual owner can register with the GIYKIMBIL system and use the same or should they set up a company to do it, like a business would.
We will be speaking with authorities over the weekend, after which we expect to have more information. What has also been suggested by the authorities concerned is that, although the Law itself allowed two months for completing registration process as of November 2016, the time is now extend to June 2017.
More on that too – as well as answers to such queries as, ” What happens if my friends and/or relatives visit whilst I am here?” and “Are friends/family allowed to stay in the property if I am not in residence?”