Despite the latest court ruling loosening restrictions on short-term rentals in Berlin, there are still plenty of questions left regarding what the city's laws on home-sharing really mean.
Authorities in Berlin last year appeared to have implemented one of the strictest bans on short-term rentals in the world. However, a new ruling seems to suggest that ban is not as strict as originally conceived, giving hope to home-sharing platforms like Airbnb and its hosts.
The law that went into effect in May 2016 was meant to address the city’s affordable housing shortage. It essentially stated that non-city residents couldn’t rent out entire apartments or homes through alternative accommodations platforms unless the host of that particular residence has a permit to do so.
Berliners who wanted to rent out their entire residences on these platforms would need to obtain a permit, but they were nearly impossible to get.
One resident who applied for a permit to rent out his entire home occasionally — and was consistently denied one – filed a suit against the State of Berlin. The Berlin Administrative Court ruled in his favor September 8, and he is now allowed to rent out his main residence for up to 182 days per year.
According to a press statement from the plaintiff’s lawyers, this decision now applies more broadly to all Berlin residents, meaning that they are entitled to obtain permits for operating a short-term rental for up to 182 days a year.
In September 2016, Berlin’s Administrative Court had ruled that permits for short-term rentals must also be given to hosts who want to rent out secondary homes.
Since the introduction of the Berlin law in May 2016, there remain plenty of questions about how it is to be interpreted and implemented. City law maintains that homes must be used as homes, but it’s unclear whether home-sharing applies under this use.
Lawmakers and politicians have also disagreed as to whether the law allows for renting out of individual, shared rooms.
This most recent case and the previous case in September 2016, however, seem to suggest that the home sharing of primary and secondary residences should be permitted, although further details about how the original law should be enforced remain unclear.
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Photo credit: An Airbnb listing in Berlin. A court appeared to rule in favor September 8, 2017 of allowing more home-sharing to take place in the German city. Airbnb