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Is Airbnb still legal in Germany?

Blog Home Blog Autor: Alexander Klein Alexander Klein Aktualisiert 23.05.2023 Kategorie Recht

Airbnb is an online marketplace for renting accommodation worldwide. The platform was founded in San Francisco in 2008 and has since grown in popularity around the world.

Airbnb's business model is based on brokering accommodations between hosts and travelers, and Airbnb makes money through a fee paid by hosts and guests. The platform offers hosts the opportunity to offer their accommodation at a self-chosen price and offers many tools and resources to support them.

A key feature of Airbnb's business model is its strong focus on user experience, including ratings and recommendations, and a conflict management system. Airbnb has also invested in technology and automation to fuel growth.

For many years, Airbnb was the first address for holiday renters, professional and business travelers due to its high level of awareness. Booking through Airbnb was ideal for renting holiday apartments by the day. For a longer rental period, however, the apartments offered were often too expensive.

Airbnb is not directly banned in Germany. However, many major cities and resorts have laws that severely restrict Airbnb rentals.

Many cities have employed "Airbnb hunters" for years looking for unauthorized vacation rentals in the city.

Airbnb hotels are taking housing away from the market

In many cities, the legal situation regarding Airbnb has changed fundamentally. For a number of years, actual Airbnb hotels have emerged in many houses, in which no more tenants live. Entire inner city districts are affected, which is largely due to the legally questionable rental models of providers via Airbnb.

This has led to the formation of extensive commercial structures that are taking space away from the housing market and forcing a large number of traditional tenants out of their apartments. The problems with Airbnb and similar platforms are primarily that they can have an impact on the local housing market. Renting apartments exclusively to tourists means they are absent from the housing market for long-term rentals, which can lead to an increase in rental prices and a lack of housing.

In addition, short-term rentals can cause problems related to noise pollution, waste disposal and other nuisances that tourists may cause. This affects not only the immediate neighbors, but also the entire environment. As a result, many cities have now taken steps to regulate and control short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb.

Wild growth in the real estate market

In order to stop this uncontrolled growth on the real estate market, the municipalities have received a uniform set of rules including fines and new instruments. Renting through Airbnb is no longer legal in these cities due to bans on misappropriation.

Living space is always misused when it is used in a way that differs from its purpose. Only a few landlords still have a permit from the city for short-term rentals via Airbnb. In Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich, fines of up to 500,000 euros are now being levied for misuse of living space.

Airbnb is often used by scammers

In addition, Airbnb is often used by scammers to lure people looking for an apartment with fake ads and collect down payments from them. The supposed landlord then disappeared and the guest has little chance of recovering his money.

Legal Disputes

Further criticism is that there is no legal protection whatsoever in disputes between guests and hosts.

Data protection

In addition, the company is increasingly being blamed internationally for a lack of data protection.

ECJ ruling: Big cities can ban Airbnb rentals

The ban on short-term rentals via Airbnb to holidaymakers is a major issue across Europe. In September 2020, a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) caused a sensation: In the fight against a lack of housing, the short-term rental of regular rental apartments via platforms such as Airbnb may be prohibited.

Current prohibitions on misappropriation

Currently (as of February 2023) there are the following prohibitions on misappropriation:

  • Baden Württemberg (Stuttgart, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Konstanz)
  • Bavaria (Munich, Puchheim)
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg (Potsdam)
  • Bremen (individual districts)
  • Hamburg
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • Lower Saxony (Lüneburg, Göttingen, island of Norderney)
  • North Rhine-Westphalia (Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Münster)
  • Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Saxony
  • Schleswig Holstein
  • Thuringia

The fines for violations are between €50,000 and €500,000 depending on the federal state.


On Thursday, August 29, 2019, the Düsseldorf city council passed a tightened housing statute. He thus prohibits the short-term, i.e. daily rental of holiday apartments via providers such as Airbnb.

A short-term rental is when the living space is often rented out for a short time and more money is earned than through a regular rent. Such rentals are now strictly prohibited in the future. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to 50,000 euros. However, special permits should be possible.

In addition, according to the new statute, apartments should not be vacant for longer than six months. In the case of a renovation, the period is extended to one year. The changes are intended to relieve the Düsseldorf housing market.

In an open letter to the council members, the "Alliance for Affordable Housing" criticized the fact that there is a lack of apartments in Düsseldorf that are affordable for people with low and middle incomes. The council members were asked to tighten the housing protection statute. In addition, the city of Düsseldorf should get additional staff to be able to monitor compliance with the new rules.


Illegal rentals are those that have not been approved by the city since the housing protection statute came into force in 2014. An estimated 7,000 apartments are offered via the Airbnb platform. Such rentals deprive the citizens of Cologne of living space. As a consequence, the rental prices for the other apartments are rising. The city of Cologne even speaks of organized crime and wants to stop the abuse of living space.

The city of Cologne has declared war on providers who offer entire apartments or even houses for holiday guests. Mayor Henriette Reker now wants to check whether the fines for illegal rentals should be increased from the current 50,000 to 500,000 euros.

The city has now increased the number of people responsible for housing supervision. Since the entry into force of the housing protection statute in July 2014, 470 procedures have been initiated for misappropriation as a holiday hostel. This affected 1423 residential units. In the future, the housing inspectorate will work even more closely with the tax office, the regulatory office and the building inspectorate. In addition, the city will draw the public's attention to the problem through an information campaign.

Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt has been fighting illegal holiday apartments since 2013, initially on the basis of the Hessian building code. In 2018, a holiday home statute came into force. Apartments can be rented to tourists for a maximum of eight weeks per year and landlords must apply for a permit.

The Frankfurt building inspector has three full-time employees tracking down illegal short-term apartments. Their aim is to reclaim living space for the normal rental market. As "Airbnb hunters" they look for illegal vacation homes and furnished residences. They make unannounced home visits and require a permit for each rental. The housing protection team has been active since 2018 and has successfully checked apartments in Frankfurt and counteracted illegal rentals.


The Hamburg Housing Protection Act requires hosts in Hamburg to register their accommodation and provide a housing protection number in their advertisement. The housing protection number can be applied for online and is free of charge. There are several conditions under which a housing protection number can be applied for, including renting private or shared rooms, as well as renting accommodation for up to eight weeks a year. A rejected registration can have various reasons. If hosts did not register their listing before April 1, 2019, it has been deactivated. However, bookings confirmed before April 1, 2019 will not be cancelled.


The Stuttgart Misappropriation Prohibition Statute (ZwEVS) prohibits the use of living space for unauthorized purposes and regulates the use of living space, including home sharing and short-term rentals in Stuttgart. Starting July 2, 2021, hosts must apply for a registration number and include it on the listing before renting their space. There is no time limit if less than 50% of the living space is rented out, but more than 50% of the living space can be rented out for up to ten weeks per year with one registration number. A permit must be applied for for longer rentals. Spaces not used for private living purposes are not covered by the law.


In Munich, regulations prohibit the use of residential spaces for non-residential purposes. These rules were put in place in December 2017 and apply to all types of living accommodations within the city. According to the regulations, no more than 50% of the living space can be used for non-residential purposes, but entire homes can be rented out for up to eight weeks per year without permission. To use living spaces for non-residential purposes, one must obtain permission from the appropriate authorities, which can take up to twelve months to obtain. Receiving permission is based on the public interest and the preservation of living spaces.


In Berlin, renting private apartments to tourists has only been possible with permission since 2014. In 2018, the regulations were tightened and a registration requirement was introduced. Providers of holiday apartments are legally obliged to provide a clearly visible registration number, especially for advertisements on online portals. Anyone who does not comply with the new rules must expect fines of up to 250,000 euros. Apartment advertisements without the number are against the law. Portals are no longer allowed to place such ads online or must delete them. The House of Representatives passed the new version of the Misappropriation Prohibition Act on November 1, 2021.

North Rhine-Westphalia

Stricter rules will apply to rental portals such as Airbnb in NRW in the future. The state parliament passed the Housing Strengthening Act on Wednesday. In municipalities that have passed or are still passing a misappropriation statute due to a shortage of housing, uniform rules for short-term rentals will apply from July 1, 2021.

Long-term rental to short-term tourists is limited to a maximum of three months a year. From July 1st, 2022, landlords will also need a housing identification number from the municipality. Anyone who does not have a housing ID should no longer be allowed to upload a rental offer on a platform such as Airbnb.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Since the supply of living space in the holiday resorts on the coasts has become very scarce, the state parliament passed a misappropriation law on April 14, 2021.


On February 16, 2021, a stricter law on misappropriation came into force in Baden-Württemberg. Landlords who violate the approval requirements must expect penalties of up to 100,000 euros.


In Rhineland-Palatinate, a state law prohibiting the misappropriation of living space came into force on February 20, 2020.


As early as 2017, Bavaria decided on harsh penalties for misappropriating living space. Here, too, fines of up to 500,000 euros are threatened if apartments in areas with a housing shortage are permanently withdrawn from the market.

Are bookings at legally permissible?

As a regionally based company, we have to comply with German laws.

Smart Apartments - Alloggia

Apartments with living space ID

As the Alloggia booking portal, we take particular care not to publish any illegal apartment advertisements. Our commercial and private landlords all have an official permit to rent out holiday apartments, provided that it is required by a corresponding housing statute in the respective municipality.

Holiday apartments are self-contained and fully equipped living units with a kitchen and a private bathroom, with plenty of space and a lot of comfort.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, a housing identity number has been required in all advertisements since 1 July 2022, cf. the Housing Strengthening Act. Similar regulations exist in many other states.

Incidentally, private landlords usually do not require official approval if they rent their holiday home to people who are not tourists, are looking for an apartment for professional reasons or for training purposes and the rental period is at least 2 months (temporary living).

If you already have a housing ID or if short-term rentals do not require a permit in your city, you can register with Alloggia and publish legal housing advertisements.

  Alloggia Blog Autor

Autor: Alexander Klein Alexander Klein Aktualisiert 23.05.2023

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ndricim 12.4.2023 Like
Hello I am thinking to rent a appartment in Esslingen but the owner is in Spain so he is saying that he will send the key and I can see the apartment through AirBnb [removed] How can I know he is for real? Thank you for you time
Teena 26.5.2023 Like
As ndricim told, I am thinking to rent a appartment in Viernheim, but the owner is in Spain so he is saying that he will send the key and I can see the apartment through AirBnb. Please someone verify that he is for real? Thank you for you time
Teena 26.5.2023 Like
As ndricim told, I am thinking to rent a appartment in Viernheim, but the owner is in Spain so he is saying that he will send the key and I can see the apartment through AirBnb. Please someone verify that he is for real? Thank you for you time

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