More calls for stricter Airbnb regulations

Last month, the ECJ ruled against France’s attempts to fight against how Airbnb operates. The government wanted to be able to regulate the service without EU interference.

However, after the ruling, which said that it would be a breach of EU’s rules for the “free movement of information society services”, other member states have joined the battle, arguing that rental websites like Airbnb are causing problems in housing markets.

Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna, Valencia, Paris, Brussels, Bordeaux, Krakow, and Munich wrote a joint letter to the commission. In this letter, they detailed the problems associated with the “explosive growth” of the short-term lettings industry.

In the last few years, Airbnb has seen rapid growth. At the moment, it has over 18,000 listings in both Amsterdam and Barcelona, 60,000 in Paris, and 22,000 in Berlin. Over half of these are whole apartments or houses which were available for more than 3 months a year.

According to a statement, they say that this should be added to the agenda for European commissioners in the coming years.

“European cities believe homes should be used first and foremost for living in. Many suffer from a serious housing shortage. Where homes can be rented out more lucratively to tourists, they vanish from the traditional housing market,” the statement said.

Further to this, the statement went on to say that local authorities should be given the power to deal with the short- and long-term effects of the “touristification” of neighborhoods, like rising rents for residents by “introducing their own regulations depending on the local situation”.

They said: “We believe cities are best placed to understand their residents’ needs. They have always been allowed to regulate local activity through urban planning and housing rules. The advocate general seems to imply this will no longer be possible when it comes to internet giants.”

The city authorities said in a statement: “The cities are not against this type of holiday rental. Tourism provides a city with income and jobs. They do think they should be able to set rules. We need strong legal obligations for platforms to cooperate with us in registration schemes and in supplying rental data for the properties on their platforms.”

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