At Airbnb’s expense, EU legal adviser says tackling housing shortage is a priority

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European cities cracking down on short-term rentals of private homes like Airbnb’s received a boost on Thursday after an adviser to Europe’s highest court said they had the right to control these rentals to deal with the long-term housing shortage. lodging.

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures can be seen in front of the Airbnb logo displayed in this illustration taken March 19, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

The roommate’s rapid growth over the past decade has posed a challenge for city authorities from Amsterdam to New York and Paris, which accused Airbnb of exacerbating the housing shortage and evicting low-income residents. .

The case before the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) concerned two Parisian apartment owners who were fined by city authorities for renting their accommodation on Airbnb without permission.

The owners took their case to a French court which sought advice from the CJEU. Court Advocate General Michal Bobek said the public interest outweighed EU rules known as the Services Directive on the freedom to provide services in the bloc.

“A shortage of long-term housing constitutes an overriding reason in the general interest likely to justify a national measure, which requires obtaining an authorization for the repeated rental of short-term residential housing to a transit clientele” said Bobek.

Airbnb said it took note of the non-binding notice.

β€œAirbnb is not a stakeholder in this affair, which only concerns the rental of second homes in Paris. The vast majority of hosts in Paris share their primary residence and the CJEU has already defined how Airbnb should be regulated in Europe, ”the US company said in a statement.

The court will rule in the coming months. Judges generally follow four of these five recommendations.

With nearly 60,000 homes, Paris has the most Airbnb listings than any other city in the world. The city allows its owners to rent their apartments on short-term rental sites for up to 120 days per year.

The case is C-724/18 Cali Apartments and C-727/18 Attorney General at the Paris Court of Appeal and City of Paris.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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