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UnFAirbnb - is Airbnb lobbying Brussels to veto European cities' regulation?

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By Damon Embling
UnFAirbnb - is Airbnb lobbying Brussels to veto European cities' regulation?

Have you struggled to find an affordable flat to rent? Well, it might be down to the Airbnb effect.

The success of the visitor accommodation platform is making life hard for locals to get a roof over their heads.

Brussels is doing something about it, by regulating and taxing Airbnb houses and apartments - while also cracking down on illegal housing.

"We will start putting seals on properties and have fines. I think it's necessary so people understand it's illegal to exploit this kind of tourist accommodation, which should be used for Brussels residents," said Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène, from the City of Brussels.

In Brussels, thousands of housing units are being removed from the rental market, to be used as Airbnb visitor accommodation.

One woman in the city commented: "In Brussels now I pay quite a lot to rent compared to my friends in Leuven, which I think it might be among other a consequences of Airbnb."

Over the years Airbnb boosted its lobbying of EU institutions. Experts say its foot prints can be seen in European Commission policy.

"It is kind of legislation but rather along the lines that Airbnb would have wanted to," said Kenneth Haar Researcher, from the Corporate Europe Observatory.

The affordable housing issue raised around Airbnb is just one example of the so-called sharing economies, which the EU has so far been unable to regulate.