Berlin Ban

Flat Owners Fight Airbnb Crackdown

airbnb.dpa Jens Kalaene
British tourists in an Airbnb flat in Berlin's trendy Kreuzberg district. The number of such holiday rentals has bloomed in the German capital in recent years amid increasing rents and a housing shortage.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    In a tight, increasingly expensive urban housing market, the Berlin vacation-apartment sector has grown swiftly in recent years. Now the city wants to put a stop to it to protect residents.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The restriction against vacation rentals is part of a prohibition of wrongful use of housing space.
    • The regulation began in 2014 and came into full effect on May 1.
    • Violators face a fine of up to €100,000, and the Berlin Senate has set up a website where neighbors can report potential offenses.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Berlin’s new law prohibiting the use of housing space for vacation rentals enrages Bernd Muckenschnabel both professionally and privately.

“No other country in Europe has restrictions like these,” said the native Berliner, the supervisory board chairman for vacation-apartment specialist Novasol. “And no one is saying ‘Stop!’ ”

The restriction bans apartment owners from renting out flats to tourists without a city permit, and came into full effect on May 1 after a two-year transition period. Now anyone who violates the rule faces a €100,000, or $114,450, fine. Lawmakers hope the crackdown will quell spiking rents and a growing housing shortage in the German capital.

In the weeks leading up to the ban, online rental provider Airbnb reportedly dumped thousands of commercial apartment rental listings in Berlin to avoid potential legal ramifications. But vacation apartment owners say the new law is unfair and plan to fight it.

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