Friday 24 May 2019

Airbnb removes thousands of Berlin apartment listings ahead of city crackdown


Mark O'Beirne

Airbnb has removed thousands of apartment listings in Berlin ahead of a city crackdown on holiday apartments from May 1st.

Airbnb has removed thousands of Berlin apartment listings from its service ahead of a citywide crackdown on holiday lets that kicks in on May 1st.

From May 1st, it is forbidden to let apartments to tourists without a holiday let permit. If caught, landlords face a fine of up to €100,000.

It's believed that there are around 15,000 holiday lets in Berlin, but just 6,300 landlords have applied for a permit. As a result, Airbnb has reduced its number of Berlin listings to approximately 6,700. This move is seen as Airbnb's attempt to avoid becoming embroiled in the city's legal actions.

Airbnb has had run-ins with city authorities in New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, and other US cities, as well as in Barcelona. Amsterdam, France, and the UK, on the other hand, have been more supportive.

Politicians in Berlin along with tenant groups have welcomed the move amid increasing rent prices and a belief that regular Berliners are being priced out of the housing market.

Those who have been renting out apartments reacted less favourably. They argue that holiday flats make up a tiny fraction of Berlin's apartments and say this move is being made to distract people from the government's failure to build affordable housing.

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