Is Airbnb still legal in Germany?
Thousands of apartments are offered in the major cities of North Rhine-Westphalia on platforms such as Airbnb. In many cases it is illegal. The city of Cologne even speaks of organized crime and wants to stop the abuse of housing.
On Thursday, August 29, 2019, the Düsseldorf city council passed a stricter housing regulation. He forbids 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 thus more money is earned than with a regular rental. Such rentals are now fundamentally 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 statutes, apartments should not be vacant for more than six months. In the case of a renovation, the deadline is extended to one year. The innovations are intended to relieve the Düsseldorf housing market.
In an open letter to the council members, the "Alliance for Affordable Housing" criticized the 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 is to get additional staff in order 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 on the Airbnb platform. Such rentals deprive Cologne citizens of their living space. As a consequence, the rents for the other apartments are rising.
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 meanwhile strengthened the responsible housing supervision staff. Since the housing protection statute came into force in July 2014, 470 proceedings have been initiated for misappropriation as a holiday hostel. This affected 1,423 residential units. The housing supervision will in the future work even more closely with the tax office, public order office and building supervision office. In addition, the city will make the public aware of the problem through an information campaign.
New NRW law from July 1st, 2021
For rental portals such as Airbnb, stricter rules will apply in the future in North Rhine-Westphalia. The state parliament passed the Housing Enhancement Act on Wednesday. In municipalities that have adopted or are still adopting 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. In addition, from July 1, 2022, landlords need a residential space identification number from the municipality. Anyone who does not have a living space ID should no longer be allowed to upload a rental offer on a platform such as Airbnb.
As an Alloggia booking portal, we take particular care not to publish any illegal apartment advertisements. Our commercial and private landlords all have official approval to rent out holiday and temporary apartments.