Rental platforms like Airbnb do not cooperate with authorities claims letter from European cities

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By Sinead Barry
Rental platforms like Airbnb do not cooperate with authorities claims letter from European cities
Copyright  Pixaby

In an open letter from Amsterdam city council, ten European cities have asked the EU for help in combatting Airbnb's monopoly of the housing market.

The letter, which is signed by Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia and Vienna, states that renting platforms like Airbnb claim a willingness to cooperate with local governments, "however in practice, they don’t or only do so on a voluntary basis."

The request comes following an opinion published by the EU Advocate General to allow Airbnb Ireland's services in France benefit from the freedom to provide services law on April 30th.

According to this opinion, platforms would not have the obligation to provide local authorities with information regarding their rental data. Rental law violations, therefore, would be exceptionally difficult to identify and enforce, causing excessive strain on public funding.

The legislation currently in place "seems to make us virtually powerless against globally operating short term rental companies" believe the councils.

The letter claims that it is the cities themselves who best understand the needs of their residents. Authorities of local councils believe that the limitless freedom of the rental market granted to Airbnb by the Advocate General will hinder their urban planning and housing measures.

While the cities involved claim to understand the importance of tourism as a source of income and employment for residents, they do not believe that tourist rental companies should be exempt from regulation.

"One thing must be clear" expresses the letter, "a carte blanche for holiday rental platforms is not the solution."

To best serve the interests of residents, local governments believe that they should have the opportunity to regulate rentals in their neighbourhoods. The excessive short term holiday rental system perpetrated by Airbnb exacerbates many social problems in cities.

Not least of the problems with the unregulated private rental system is the housing shortage. While European cities suffer from lack of affordable housing, Airbnb utilise properties from the traditional market, thus driving up rental prices for residents.

"European cities believe that homes should be used first and foremost for living in," says the letter. Short term holiday rental damages neighbourhood security and contributes to the complete 'touristification' of cities.

In order to combat these risks, authorities ask for "strong legal obligations" for rental platforms to be enforced.

"If our residents don’t feel protected anymore, this will further undermine confidence in European politics" say the cities.

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