We wish we were kidding…
When it comes to holiday prep, the search for affordable accommodation is usually at the top of our checklists, with Air BnB boasting the top spot since its invention in 2008, offering cheap but chic housing in over 34,000 cities.
That is unless you’re planning a city break to Berlin – in which case you can forget Air BnB as it’s no longer an option in Germany’s capital. Boo!
That’s right – after a two year transition process, Berlin has implemented a mouthful of a new law: ‘Zweckentfremdungsverbot’, active as of this month. The new order bans the short-term let of entire apartments and houses to tourists without a city permit, but allows hosts to still rent out single rooms. Long story short: Air BnB and its competitors are no longer able to rent out whole flats to tourists.
If you’re planning on ignoring the new restrictions – we would think again. Property owners who violate the law and continue to list their apartments and houses could be fined up to a whopping £78,371.
Berlin’s head of urban development, Andreas Geise told The Local that the law was ‘a necessary and sensible instrument against the housing shortage in Berlin’ and aims to protect affordable housing. When people turn entire apartments into makeshift hotels, it tends to raise apartment rental prices and punish locals searching for homes. ‘I am absolutely determined to return such misappropriated apartments to the people of Berlin and to newcomers’ he added.
Following the implementation, tourists (stripped of good, affordable Instagram-worthy accommodation) will only be allowed to rent out rooms via Internet portals.
Air BnB spokesman Julian Trautwein expressed his sadness, explaining that ‘this is bad news for Berlin and regular locals who occasionally share their homes to afford living costs in the city they love’- with a third of the 20,000 Berliners who use the house-sharing site claiming to rely on the additional income to pay the bills and make ends meet.
It’s not looking good for them or the 568,000 Berlin Air BnB guests each year, but it’s not all bad – Berlin is generally relatively affordable, as far as Europe goes anyway.
Not to mention it was supposedly AirBnB that boosted the rent in the first place, so while it’s bad news for us, it’s good news for Berliners in search of affordable living spaces.