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Travel

Berlin restricts private holiday rentals

Live like a local? Or stay in a sterile hotel room while on holiday? Many tourists prefer to use private holiday Rentals. But Berlin has introduced strict rules limiting the options for private rentals.

Effective immediately, the new law ensures that owners in Berlin are allowed to rent out only rooms via internet portals such as Airbnb, not entire flats or houses. This means that tourists can still rent a room in a flat or apartment in Berlin via internet platforms but will have to share kitchen and bathroom facilities. Renting the entire flat or house as a holiday accommodation is forbidden. Those who ignore the law that went into effect on May 1, 2016 can face fines of up to 100,000 euro ($113,000).

Last year over 20,000 Berliners offered their property to tourists on the internet using Airbnb. On average the portal says, a typical host will have earned around 1,800 euro during that year. 568,000 guests stayed overnight in Airbnb rented accommodation. Every third guest told a survey they would not have come to Berlin or stayed as long as they had had it not been for Airbnb.

Given that it is more profitable to rent out whole apartments for short holiday lets, some investors were holding onto apartments for such rentals rather than having more permanent, long-term tenants. Even before the law banning commercial use of private property came into effect, some 1,000 apartments were rented out to long-term tenants. In all, holiday accommodation accounts for less than one percent of rented property in Berlin.

is/ks/sc (dpa)