Vienna court ratifies Airbnb ban in municipal housing

Austria: Vienna Higher Regional Court ratifies ban on Airbnb ads in municipal buildings – Gemeindebau – in the Austrian capital, two months after the colocation company agreed to remove registrations in the city and implement a series of measures to facilitate “responsible tourism”.

This follows the city of Vienna’s legal victory against Airbnb in May, which meant that city-owned apartments in the city would no longer be available for subletting on platforms such as Airbnb. This decision is now legally binding.

Last year, based in Vienna Wiener Wohnen, the largest social housing management service in Europe with 220,000 apartment rentals, has banned its tenants from subletting through Airbnb although the rules have not always been followed. Wiener Wohnen took the case to court and won, despite an appeal from Airbnb, which was forced to remove all listings that could qualify as social housing.

Airbnb also agreed to the introduction of a series of measures in Vienna, including:

  • Airbnb will regularly inform its hosts in Vienna that listings in municipal accommodations should not be sublet and those that break the rules will be removed from the platform.
  • Airbnb will grant the city of Vienna access to the Airbnb city portal as the first partner in Austria. In this way, the city authorities can inform the platform of any suspicious advertisement that may violate the ban on subletting apartments in municipal housing.
  • A nationwide digital registration process will be implemented for all Airbnb hosts in Austria. Similar to existing systems that have been put in place in the Netherlands, France and Spain, Airbnb will work alongside the European Commission to provide regular rental statistics for Austrian cities, and tax data will continue to be shared. with the country’s finance ministry.
  • A hotline should be set up, which means neighbors, tenants, or landlords can discretely report suspicions of illegal rentals or excessively loud parties to Airbnb.

The decision was welcomed by local housing councilor and vice-mayor, Kathrin Gaal, who said the rental ban by the higher regional court was a “very important” step towards protecting the social housing system and municipal rental of the city.

In a previous attempt to reduce “overtourism”, the city of Vienna amended its Tourism Promotion Act to require hosts to pay taxes on their income from short-term rentals, regardless of the number of days for which they rented in a year.

For ten consecutive years between 2009 and 2019, Vienna was named the best place in the world for quality of life and business relocation by the Mercer’s Quality of Living Index. However, with the increasing demand for short-term tourist accommodation and accommodation, the city fears it will lose its title and become less desirable to travelers.

In 2019, Vienna joined forces with nine other European cities [Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris and Valencia] call on the European Union to limit the proliferation of short-term rentals and help them manage critical housing shortages at the local level by protecting their regulatory capacity.

The EU, meanwhile, would consult on regulating the short-term rental market across the bloc, with the option of a single pan-European set of rules being considered.

Comments are closed.