Airbnb should be considered a digital service provider, advised ECJ | Airbnb

Airbnb has taken a further step to avoid onerous national regulations after an adviser to the European Court of Justice said the company should be considered a digital service provider.

Maciej Szpunar, one of the ECJ’s Advocates General, found that Airbnb was what Brussels would describe as an information society service, a status that comes with the right to operate freely across the EU.

Szpunar rejected claims by a French tourism association that the company would face the same accounting, insurance and financial obligations as traditional property providers.

Airbnb, which is registered in Ireland, argues that its business of connecting landlords with people looking for accommodation cannot be considered real estate brokerage.

Szpunar said on Tuesday that the French government had failed to properly notify the European Commission and the Irish authorities of its intention to apply French law to the company. He said Airbnb was an online service that connected potential customers with hosts offering short-term accommodation.

It is unclear what the advice would have been had the French authorities made the required notification.

The opinion is not binding, although the court takes the opinion of its general counsel in 80% of cases. Airbnb said it welcomed the notice as it provided “a clear outline of the applicable rules”.

The development will likely be a boon for Airbnb, which is fighting claims from cities around the world, including Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona, ​​that its services are changing the face of neighborhoods and need to be more heavily regulated.

France is Airbnb’s largest market after the United States, and Paris is its largest single city market, with around 65,000 listings.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We welcome the Advocate General’s opinion, which provides a clear overview of the rules applicable to collaborative economy platforms like Airbnb and how these rules help create opportunities for consumers.

“We also want to be good partners and have already worked with over 500 governments around the world on measures to help hosts share accommodation, follow the rules and pay their fair share of taxes.

“As we move forward, we want to continue working with everyone to put locals at the heart of 21st century sustainable travel.”

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