Berlin isn’t the first city to take issue with Airbnb’s vacation rental scheme, but it has just levied one of the biggest bans on the service. As of this month, Berliners are no longer allowed to rent their full apartments to tourists using Airbnb.
The law, called Zweckentfremdungsverbot (“prohibition of improper use”), was passed in 2014 and went into effect on May 1. Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s head of urban development, told The Local that the crackdown is “a necessary and sensible instrument” to keep housing affordable in the German capital. “I am absolutely determined to return such misappropriated apartments to the people of Berlin and to newcomers,” he said.
Though rents in Berlin are still low compared to other major European cities, they increased by 56% between 2009 and 2014. Officials believe Airbnb played a large role in that rise as more locals use their apartments exclusively for short-term rentals, in turn aggravating the city’s housing shortage.
It’s not all bad news. Airbnb isn’t banned completely from Berlin, only short-term renting of entire homes to tourists is forbidden without a city permit (and offenders can face fines of up to €100,000). Visitors can still rent single rooms, so if you intended to use Airbnb for your next visit to Germany’s capital, plan on getting friendly with your host.