Berlin Bans Airbnb Users From Renting Entire Apartments To Protect Affordable Housing

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It is now illegal for Berlin homeowners to rent out entire properties to Airbnb users and other homesharing services.

The Independent reports that new legislation, called Zweckentfremdungsverbot, bans owners from renting out entire apartments to tourists without city permits.

Breaking the law, which was passed in 2014 but went into effect May 1, could get homeowners up to €100,000 (almost C$144,000) in fines.

airbnb
The Airbnb legislation, passed in 2014, became law as of May. (Getty Images)

Those without city permits will be able to rent out only rooms. Listings on Airbnb for Berlin dropped by 40 per cent in April, according to The Independent.

Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s head of urban development, called the law is a "sensible instrument" in tackling the city's housing shortage, reports The Guardian. The law is aimed at maintaining a supply of available properties and keeping rental rates low.

"I am absolutely determined to return such misappropriated apartments to the people of Berlin and to newcomers," Geisel said.

City authorities are also hoping residents will notify officials of any owners who break the law. But that request isn't sitting well with some.

A 48-year-old woman who has rented her properties through the popular website told The Guardian “in Germany, of all places, maybe we should reconsider this kind of thing."

'Simple rules' needed: Airbnb

A spokesperson for Airbnb told the Independent that "Berliners want clear and simple rules for home sharing" and that the company "will continue to encourage Berlin policy-makers to listen to their citizens."

This isn't the first time the online service has landed in hot water over rental rates. In New York, it was accused of "exacerbating the housing crisis," according to The Verge.

In Vancouver, to come up with regulations for services like Airbnb, city staff are collecting data for a study on short-term rentals and their effects, CBC News reports.

Last month, Toronto-based MaRS Solutions Lab released a report suggesting tougher regulatory measures be put in place to limit what kinds of homes can be rented in the sharing economy.

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