EU’s highest court backs crackdown on short-term home rentals in Airbnb setback

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s highest court on Tuesday extended its support to European cities cracking down on short-term rentals of private accommodation to resolve the housing crisis, inflicting a setback on roommates site Airbnb.

From Amsterdam to New York and Paris, authorities have accused Airbnb of exacerbating the housing shortage in their cities, which has kicked out low-income residents. France is Airbnb’s second largest market after the United States.

The decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) came after a French court sought advice in a case involving two Parisian apartment owners who were fined by city authorities for renting second homes on Airbnb without authorization.

Landlords in Paris are required to declare the rental of second homes to the authorities.

The Luxembourg-based CJEU said the French measure was justified because it is proportionate, limited in its material and geographical scope, and does not cover the rental of own or main housing.

“National legislation requiring repeated rental of short-term accommodation to transient clients who do not live there is in line with EU law,” the judges said.

“The fight against the shortage of long-term rental housing is a compelling reason in the public interest justifying such legislation”, they declared.

Airbnb, which is not a party to the case, said the move would have little to no impact on its operations in Paris, as the vast majority of its platform hosts in the city rent their own house or their main house.

However, the percentage in other cities is unclear, as Airbnb does not provide figures.

“We welcome this decision which will help clarify the rules for guests sharing a second home in Paris,” the company said in a statement.

“We look forward to working closely with local authorities on proportionate regulation that puts families and local communities first and works for all.”

Paris caps short-term rental at 120 days per year.

The cases are 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 Jan Harvey

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