Airbnb has faced criticism in the past as some say the site contributes to city housing shortages. As of May 1st, a new Berlin law makes it illegal for homeowners to rent their entire homes on Airbnb – or they could face fines of up to $115,000. Berlin rent prices grew by 56 percent between 2009 and 2014, which led authorities to pass the law.
A transition period allowed Berlin homeowners to adjust until the law became effective this year. Last year Paris regulated Airbnb rentals with a tourist tax. Policymakers tried to implement laws restricting the service in New York and San Francisco, but residents voted down the measures.
Head of urban development in Berlin, Andreas Geisel, said “I am absolutely determined to return such misappropriated apartments to the people of Berlin and to newcomers.” Authorities say that sites like Airbnb are part of skyrocketing rent prices, and although Berlin rents are cheaper than many other European cities, officials seek to restrain escalating prices.
Before May 1, Berlin postings on Airbnb dropped by 40 percent. Homeowners are still allowed to rent out individual rooms.
Airbnb Germany said to the AFP, “We will continue to encourage Berlin policymakers 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.”
The AFP reported that Berlin residents hold mixed feelings about the law; some feel it’s not fair for people to own apartments simply to rent them out, while others feel that locals are suffering for lawmakers’ inability to solve housing issues.
Lawmakers have asked residents to report anyone they discover breaking the law.
Via The Verge