Airbnb dominated by professional renters – DW – 08/04/2017

Renting a holiday apartment on Airbnb has become a lucrative and fast-growing business model – which the popular online platform is actively promoting, according to new research from German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).

After analyzing a database of more than 37,000 Airbnb listings in the ten largest German cities, the newspaper – together with journalists from De Tijd in Belgium, Le Monde in France and Trouw in the Netherlands – discovered that there were approximately 1,290 landlords offering more than one apartment. in the country on Airbnb, a development that is driving up rental prices and emptying many downtown neighborhoods.

Around 58% of all listings on Airbnb in Germany are entire apartments or even apartment buildings, which means that professional landlords are indeed at the heart of Airbnb’s business. As for the offers of single beds in shared accommodation, they represent less than 2% of the ads on the site.

Some rental companies, like Cologne-based Homerent Immobilien, make around 4.5 million euros ($4 million) in revenue using Airbnb as part of their business model. The newspaper also found that many of these companies disguise their offers with advertising suggesting they are made by individuals renting their own homes.

There are also start-ups in Germany that take over the management of your Airbnb property, posting the listing, providing keys to guests and cleaning it afterwards.

Remove apartments from the market

Building in Berlin
Berlin is experiencing a severe housing shortagePicture: picture-alliance/dpa/W. Steinberg

Even though Airbnb told SZ that its business model focuses on “home sharing”, the platform appears to be actively encouraging professionalization – with guidance, including stipulating fixed check-in times.

However, Airbnb denied the claims, telling DW: “This data is false and uses faulty methodology to draw false conclusions. Airbnb has always been a platform where different types of accommodations can be listed, including hotels. of charm and bed and breakfasts. the majority of guests are roommates, individuals who occasionally rent a room in their apartment or their entire house when they are on vacation, on a business trip or when they have to move between two cities.

Cologne has the highest rate of Airbnb listings, with 1,154 room nights per 100,000 residents, but Berlin has by far the highest number of Airbnb listings overall: 38,500, a figure that shows just how far along the platform is. came to dominate the sector: the whole of the German capital the tourism industry offers 139,000 beds per night.

But the government in Berlin thinks it has the problem under control – after introducing a law in 2014 that prohibits the commercial use of residential space for holidays (as well as the demolition of residential property or leaving it empty and not put it on the market for more than six months). Berlin, like most German cities, has a severe shortage of affordable housing. Rents are rising at a rate of almost 10% per year, even though the city has a rent cap and has introduced one of the strictest bans on holiday apartments – many other European cities also have some sort of regulations.

save the neighborhood

“The streets of Prague are empty in winter”Picture: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Kahnert

“The fact that renting through Airbnb or other platforms is on the rise, and it’s not just about roommates – that’s a development we’ve seen, and that’s also what the ban is for,” said said Katrin Dietl. , spokesperson for the Berlin Ministry of Housing. “We consider this law to be constitutional and we will continue to abide by it.”

Around 60 public officials are tasked with enforcing Berlin’s ban, with the power to impose fines for violations, and, according to Dietl, the ban has been successful: 2,500 former holiday apartments were returned to the normal rental market at the end of last year. . Dietl says it’s important. “If you look at Prague, you see that the city center is practically empty during the winter, because no one really lives there anymore,” she said.

But regular owners also feel they have become collateral damage to regulation. Maria Becher, spokesperson for Haus & Grund, an association which represents the interests of landlords, says she has followed the development of such bans in many countries. “We are very critical,” she said. “We view this as an invasion of private property. Our members own about seven apartments on average, they are not big businesses.”

Comments are closed.