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Cities vs. Airbnb: How the authorities are trying to streamline the daily rental market

In 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gobbia came up with an online service for daily rent of apartments Airbnb – since then, travelers around the world have used it about 400 million times. In January 2018, Brian Chesky said that one of the main tasks of the platform today is to achieve a balance of interests between three parties: companies, service users and people outside. Why? Caught on the crest of a wave, and 2 million people spend the night in apartments found through Airbnb, one of the most expensive startups in the world has become a hostage to their success.

Even those countries for which the development of tourism has become a panacea in the fight against economic problems, according to Tranio’s observations, are coming to regulate the market for short-term leases. One of the clearest examples is Greece, where, against the background of the tourist boom, the authorities passed a law introducing a digital registry for those who rent real estate through an online platform. Those who ignore the new rule face a fine of 5 thousand euros. And this case is not unique, the authorities of many countries are waging a “war” with Airbnb.

Why love airbnb?
Rental housing through the service is often cheaper than a hotel room. So, according to Statista, in San Francisco, the hometown of Airbnb, in 2015 the average cost of booking via the online platform was 19% lower than the price of a hotel room. In the USA as a whole, this difference is even higher: the average price of accommodation via Airbnb is $ 80, and a night in a hotel costs $ 127. The situation is similar in Europe. According to a study by the Toulouse School of Economics, in Paris the price per night in a separate standard room starts at $ 30, while the cost of a budget single room at a hotel starts at $ 60.

Airbnb offers homeowners no less favorable terms. The owner can rent out his apartment while he is not in the city, or offer to rent a second apartment or even a room in the apartment where he lives. Airbnb helps you choose the best price based on other offers, allows you to pre-chat with a potential guest or allow instant booking, and also assumes the function of a mediator in contentious situations.

All money received from the rental, minus the 3% service fee, is received by the owner. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, a typical homeowner in the UK earns an average of £ 2,000 per day, receiving guests 46 nights a year. In Berlin, renting housing through Airbnb for 30 nights a year brings an average of 1.9 thousand euros.

Why not love Airbnb?
The sharp increase in the popularity of the service, especially in the cities favored by tourists, raises questions from the authorities and makes hoteliers nervous. Thus, a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research of the United States showed that hotel revenues would have been 1.5% higher if Airbnb did not exist at all. The authorities are worried about the market opacity and the fact that landlords do not pay taxes on their income. Locals complain of noisy tenants and rising real estate prices.

As one of the measures to regulate the market for short-term rent, the authorities introduce compulsory registration of homeowners. Thus, to receive guests through Airbnb in Barcelona, ​​the property owner must obtain a special license, otherwise the announcement will not be published (in 2016, the company was fined 600 thousand euros for publishing advertisements of unregistered apartments). The issuance of new licenses in some areas in the center of Barcelona is suspended altogether.

In Barcelona, ​​there is a hot line where residents can report illegal housing rental.
In Barcelona, ​​there is a hot line where people can report the facts of illegal rental of housing to Anastasia Dulgier / Unsplash
In Berlin, the rules of renting through Airbnb, introduced in 2016, were relaxed in May 2018: if the residents of Berlin had previously been forbidden to rent their property completely (the owner had to live in the property to be handed over), then now it can be done resolution. For renting a second home there is a limit: it can be leased no more than 90 days a year.

The penalty for non-compliance with the rules in Berlin has also been changed: it has increased five times and now stands at 500 thousand euros
The penalty for non-compliance with the rules in Berlin has also been changed: it has increased five times and now stands at 500 thousand euros. Mikail Duran / Unsplash
In Amsterdam, the conditions are even tougher. Since 2017, the city has a restriction on which owners cannot rent apartments for more than 60 days a year – after reaching the limit, Airbnb automatically blocks rental ads. From 2019, according to the DutchNews portal, city authorities intend to reduce this period to 30 days.

In London, property can be leased through Airbnb no more than 90 days a year.
In London, property can be leased through Airbnb for no more than 90 days a year. Tamara Menzi / Unsplash

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