Is Airbnb still legal in Germany?
For many years, Airbnb was the first address for holiday renters, business travelers and business travelers due to its high level of awareness. Booking via Airbnb was ideal for renting holiday apartments by the day. With a longer rental period, however, the apartments on offer were often too expensive.
However, in the last few years the legal situation has changed fundamentally in many cities, as real Airbnb hotels have now emerged in buildings where no tenants live anymore. Entire inner city quarters are affected, to a considerable extent caused by legally questionable rental models of the providers via Airbnb. Often it is no longer rented by private hosts. In the meantime, extensive commercial structures have emerged that take away space from the housing market and displace a large number of traditional tenants from their apartments.
In order to stop this wild growth on the real estate market, the municipalities have received a uniform set of rules including fines and new instruments. Renting via Airbnb is no longer legal in these cities due to prohibitions on misappropriation. Living space is always misappropriated when it is used for something other than what is intended for 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 misappropriating living space.
In addition, Airbnb is often used by fraudsters to lure home hunters with fake advertisements and to collect down payments from them. Then the supposed landlord has disappeared and the guest has little chance of getting his money back.
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.
Renting out holiday apartments in Berlin is now prohibited. The ban on misuse prohibits the conversion of living space into holiday apartments. Only a few landlords have a special permit.
New German 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 rentals to short-term tourists are limited to a maximum of three months a year. In addition, from July 1st, 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.
Are bookings at Alloggia.de legally permissible?
Basically, as a regionally based provider, we have to comply with the law.
When answering the question, one must first differentiate between the individual types of accommodation:
As an 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 ordinance in the respective municipality.
Letting temporary furnished apartments to people who want to work in the city is not illegal. The German Civil Code explicitly allows landlords and tenants to agree on temporary living and to specify an individual rental period in the temporary lease, cf. § 575 BGB.
Open-ended rental contracts are not always useful for tenants and landlords. In such cases, fixed-term leases are a good alternative. Colloquially, these are mostly furnished apartments. However, the limitation of the rental period must be justified in these cases. According to § 549 (2) BGB, this does not apply if the living space is only rented for temporary use.
Typical cases of temporary rental:
- the rental of hotel rooms and holiday apartments,
- Accommodation for the duration of a trade fair,
- Accommodation of external project staff or fitters until the work objective has been completed
In all other cases, the time limit must be justified in time leases.
In the case of temporary leases, it must also be ensured that the end of the lease is clearly defined and there is no entitlement to continuation. Tenants must therefore leave the apartment at the end of the contract if no further rental agreement is concluded.
Our apartments or serviced apartments are usually commercial providers. With this type of provider, we assume official approval to rent the apartments on offer if the business has been legally registered and permitted.