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Berlin restricts Airbnb holiday rentals

17000 listed private holiday rentals affected

May 04th, 2016
Vanja Lukenic, News from Berlin

Since the 1st of May, the renting of entire flats or apartments as holiday residencies has become increasingly restricted in Berlin.

On Monday the 2nd of May the ‘Zweckentfremdungsgesetz’, the law banning commercial use of private properties, came into effect. This new law demands special permission from landlords who are providing houses to guests for commercial use. Mediation companies like that of Airbnb, Wimdu or 9flats which have over 17300 listings in Berlin, have become legally obliged by law to provide information about the renter to public authorities.

Since the introduction of this new law, the three largest companies have retained their listings of hundreds of apartments. However politicians state that instances of this unregulated renting market is responsible for the extreme increase in rental prices in Berlin.

In 2015, Airbnb brought over 56000 visitors to Berlin and the average profit made by the host amounted to 1800 euro.

Unregulated home sharing on short term contracts, will now as a result of this new law, be extremely restricted with risk of penalties and fines if they are discovered. However tourists visiting the city are permitted under the law, to rent a single guest room within an apartment, sharing kitchen and toilet facilities with the host. Half of the living area may be at the disposal to the paying guest, but no more than that. Renters or intermediate companies who ignore the law can face fines of up to 100.000 Euro. Tenants who rent these accommodations may not have to face the same penalties but they may have to face the prospect of delaying or cancelling their reservation upon their arrival in the apartment when violation of law is discovered. This new initiative is attempting to strengthen its supply of local residential prices. Now it is up to the 12 different district authorities in Berlin to prove that each apartment is being rented legally. Throughout the city the amount of holiday residences is estimated to be between 10000 and 14000, in Berlin Mitte alone there are 5000 apartments available to rent.

The Building Authorities have approved 64 new job positions in an attempt to train employees to deal with the misappropriation of housing space. The green politician Stephan Dasser awaits the Berlin administrative court to constitute a bill which would ensure that new laws are put in place by June, which would remove illegal housing offers from the internet. Airbnb have issued a statement through the Berlin-Brandenburg broadcasting station, stating that they wish to continue to protect the privacy of their users. It is yet to be verified whether or not the exposure of personal data is compatible with EU-laws governing data protection and data security.

According to the German Tourism Alliance, holiday apartments can be found in Stuttgart, Hamburg and Munich also. However Berlin has the most rigid regulations in terms of law reform.


News from Berlin