Last updated: 01:30 PM ET, Mon May 02 2016

Airbnb Takes Major Hit in Berlin

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | May 02, 2016

Airbnb Takes Major Hit in Berlin

Photo via Airbnb

It might be tough to pronounce, but “Zweckentfremdungsverbot” means travelers heading to Berlin will now have to rethink their previous plans of renting through Airbnb. (h/t The Independent) reports those in Berlin are now officially banned from renting out entire apartments to tourists through such means as Airbnb.

And if you think homeowners will willfully skirt the law, consider that the fine for such deeds rests at €100,000 (or about $115,000).

Now we are confident that you, the seasoned traveler, have been waiting for the law to become official. As the reports remind, Zweckentfremdungsverbot was passed in 2014 but barely took effect on April 30. What this means is that you can still rent out a room, but entire homes or apartment flats are off limits.

So if you are looking for a more private affair while enjoying your stay in Berlin, you may just have to go with more classic modes of accommodations.

For Airbnb, it has seen a major plummet in its use in the city. As The Independent reports the travel rental website has taken a tremendous hit in a relatively short amount of time: “Airbnb listings dropped by 40 per cent in a month.”

The impetus behind the decision is similar to arguments we have seen play out across the globe.

Officials are attempting to alleviate the rising cost of affordable housing, which is affected when homes can be let to tourists for more than they might to Berlin citizens who wish to live in the area.  

Back in November, San Francisco, a city renowned for its surging prices, struck down Proposition F – which would have put heavy restrictions on the likes of Airbnb.

In Berlin, there was no such luck for short-term rental services.

Berlin's head of urban development, Andreas Geisel, spoke to The Local and called the measure “a necessary and sensible instrument against the housing shortage in Berlin.”

Geisel continued, “I am absolutely determined to return such misappropriated apartments to the people of Berlin and to newcomers.”

Airbnb Germany spokesman Julian Trautwein offered, “Berliners want clear and simple rules for home sharing, so they can continue to share their own home with guests.”

The spokesman continued that the next step would be to work with officials to carve out more specific policies that might aid those willing to rent a slice of their homes to potential tourists.

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