Airbnb has staked its entire model on the sometimes-tenuous idea that it's not an accommodation provider, but a digital platform. The company will be relieved to find that Europe's top court agrees.
The European Union’s highest court rejected Thursday a case brought by hotels arguing Airbnb should be subject to strict rules governing French estate agents.
The case was submitted by a French court after a major association of hotels, including leading chains such as Best Western, filed a complaint arguing that the Ireland-registered company should be submitted to the same obligations as traditional real estate providers.
Hotel owners wanted Airbnb to follow real estate agent accounting, insurance and other financial rules. But Airbnb denied acting as a real estate agent.
In its ruling on Thursday, the Court of Justice said that Airbnb should be classified as an “information society service” and that “France cannot require Airbnb to hold an estate agent’s professional licence.”
Photo credit: A Parisian apartment. Mike Hauser / Flickr