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10 cities sign letter asking EU to curb Airbnb
Posted on 24/06/2019

SocietyBelgium

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The letter comes on the heels of a nonbinding suggestion that Airbnb be considered a technology company, not a real estate provider.

10 cities have have sent a letter to the European Court of Justice asking for assistance in curbing the presence of Airbnb. Barcelona, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Berlin, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia and Vienna are hoping to combat the rising cost of living and changing neighborhoods allegedly caused by the proliferation of short-term rental properties.

The joint statement reads: "Where homes can be used more lucratively for renting out to tourists, they disappear from the traditional housing market, prices are driven up even further and housing of citizens who live and work in our cities is hampered...European cities believe that homes should be used first and foremost for living in".

A nonbinding opinion

A nonbinding opinion
Sharaf Maksumov/123RF

The letter is in reaction to a nonbinding opinion made in April. An adviser to the EU court of justice found that Airbnb should be considered a digital information provider, or a technology platform, rather than as a rental estate agency.

Cities across the globe have been falling out of love with Airbnb for quite some time. While the proliferation of less expensive short-term holiday rentals has undoubtedly increased many cities' popularity among tourists, according to some local governments, the effects of overtourism are starting to become apparent with a rising cost of living. Airbnb vehemently denies its role in pricing locals out of their neighborhoods.

What does it mean?

What does it mean?
Victor Zastolskiy/123RF

If the decision is upheld, it would mean that Airbnb would not have to follow the same laws as more conventional holiday rental companies such as bed and breakfasts and hotels. The company would not be required to ensure that landlords are following local laws in regard to vacation rentals. The opinions of advocates are upheld in EU court decisions in around 80% of cases.

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