Berlin Bans AirBnB From Renting Out Entire Apartments to Protect Affordable Housing

By Jonathan Zhou, Epoch Times
May 2, 2016 3:28 pm Last Updated: May 2, 2016 3:32 pm

Berlin has banned tourists from renting whole apartments through AirBnB and other apartment-sharing services out of concerns that the practice would impact the city’s supply of affording housing. 

Individuals rooms can still be rented out through internet portals. 

The new law, instituted on May 1, will deliver a $115,000 fine to anyone who rents out an apartment to a tourist without first obtaining a city permit. 

The law had been passed in April 2014, and the 2-year transition period has now ended. 

It is “a necessary and sensible instrument against the housing shortage in Berlin,” said Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s head of urban development, the Local reports. “I am absolutely determined to return such misappropriated apartments to the people of Berlin and to newcomers.” 

Rents rose by 56 percent in Berlin between 2009 and 2014. The city is one of Europe’s top travel destinations, with 30.2 million overnight stays last year, according to the Local report.

The city has encouraged residents to anonymously report offenders to authorities. 

Some residents see the city’s concerns as legitimate, as many people are turning spare apartments into full time tourist rentals. 

There is “the nice couple with two small apartments who move in together into a bigger place and keep the two apartments to rent them out on Airbnb,” said Tim Boening, a 41 year old artist living in Berlin, according to the Local. 

In a statement, AirBnB said that “Berliners want clear and simple rules for home sharing, so they can continue to share their own home with guests. … We will continue to encourage Berlin policy-makers to listen to their citizens and to follow the example of other big cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam, or Hamburg and create new, clear rules for normal people who are sharing their own homes.”