Amsterdam, other cities sound alarm after EU court Airbnb legal advice


Amsterdam is one of 10 European cities which have asked the EU for more support in their campaign to reduce holiday rentals via websites such as Airbnb.

The cities have sounded the alarm now the advocate general of the European Court of Justice has said Airbnb should be seen as an information provider and cannot be held responsible for landlords’ compliance with holiday letting rules.

Airbnb, the advocate general said in April, should be seen as an online service connecting potential guests with hosts offering short-term accommodation. European Court judges normally follow their advisers’ non-binding opinions.

‘Homes needed for residents to live and work in our cities, will become more and more considered as a market for renting out to tourists,’ the 10 cities, which includes Barcelona and Bordeaux, say in a statement.

‘We think that cities are best placed to understand their residents’ needs. They have always been allowed to organize local activities through urban planning or housing measures. The AG seems to imply that this will simply no longer be possible in the future when it comes to internet giants.’

In particular the cities are concerned that the AG suggests enforcing local rules would be up to the councils themselves. They would have to ‘identify anonymous addresses (data held by platforms), which places an excessive burden on public funds,’ the cities said.

In March Amsterdam’s housing chief Laurens Ivens broke off talks with Airbnb, and HomeAway/Expedia on controlling holiday rental excesses had broken down and that the council would be taking its own measures to stop illegal home rentals to tourists.

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