Business, Economics and Jobs

Guess which city has the strictest Airbnb laws

RTX2BEX2.jpg

Apartment buildings are seen here, at Kantstrasse street in Berlin's Charlottenburg district, on March 17, 2016. 

Credit:

Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters 

There's a showdown in Europe that involves housing.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

Simply put: There's a shortage of affordable places to live. Especially places to rent.

Residents put some of the blame for that on home-sharing websites like Airbnb. They say these sites allow landlords to fill their apartments with lucrative short-term rentals instead of more affordable long-term ones.

Authorities in Germany's capital, Berlin, decided to do something about that. They've enacted a law that slaps stiff regulations on Airbnb and similar companies. “What it hopes to accomplish is to stop private apartments from being flushed out of the permanent rental markets and being used entirely for tourist accommodation,” says Feargus O'Sullivan, for the Atlantic's City Lab project. “The idea of the law is to make it difficult or impossible to exploit that sector at the expense of ordinary Berliners.”

O’Sullivan reports that you can still rent out up to half of the home you live in. But if you run afoul of the law, you could be fined up to $106,000. He covers this in detail in his story.

The biggest question, however, is whether the new law works. “It’s too early to tell,” says O'Sullivan.

It certainly hasn’t stopped the vacation rentals in Berlin. A quick search on Airbnb shows plenty of spaces to stay.