Vienna court ratifies ban on Airbnb in municipal housing

Austria: The Higher Regional Court of Vienna has ratified the ban on Airbnb listings in municipal buildings – Gemeindebau – in the Austrian capital, two months after the colocation company agree to remove ads in the city and put in place a set 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 has now been made legally binding.

Last year, based in Vienna Wiener Wohnen, the largest public 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 be considered social housing.

Airbnb has also agreed to a series of measures in place in Vienna, including:

  • Airbnb will regularly inform its hosts in Vienna that accommodations in municipal housing should not be sublet and those who 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. Thus, the city authorities can inform the platform of any suspicious advertisement that may contravene the ban on subletting apartments in municipal housing.
  • A nationwide digital check-in 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 cities in Austria, and tax data will continue to be collected. be shared with the country’s Ministry of Finance.
  • A phone hotline should be initiated, which means neighbors, tenants or landlords can quietly report suspected illegal rentals or loud parties to Airbnb.

The decision was welcomed by local housing councilor and deputy mayor Kathrin Gaal, who said the Higher Regional Court’s tenancy ban was a “very important” step towards protecting the social housing system and municipal of the city.

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

For ten consecutive years between 2009 and 2019, Vienna has been named the best place in the world for quality of living and for corporate relocation purposes by Mercer’s Quality of Living Index. However, with the growing demand for housing and short-term tourist accommodation, the city fears losing its title and thus becoming less attractive to travellers.

In 2019, Vienna partnered 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 local housing shortages by protecting their ability to regulate.

The EU, for its part, would be advice on the regulation of the short-term rental market across the bloc, with the option of a single set of pan-European rules being considered.

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