Berlin Will Fine People Up to $150k for Renting Their Place on Airbnb

As of May, a new law will restrict renters in Berlin from subletting out their apartments to tourists on sites like Airbnb.

In an effort to protect affordable housing in the city, the government has put new legislation into action that looks to control the recent rise in accommodation prices.

The law, which is called Zweckentfremdungsverbot (“prohibition of improper use”), has been in the pipeline since 2014 but came into effect yesterday on May 1.

Although rent prices are not nearly as crippling as other European cities like London or Paris, Berlin has seen a rise of 56 per cent between 2009 and 2014 (when the law was passed).

We’ve long understood the “Airbnb effect” as the short-term accommodation option has undercut the hotel industry. But renting out entire apartments and homes and pricing locals out of the market is another side-effect that the German capital will hope to curb.

Berliners can still rent out individual rooms in houses, but if they rent out the entire building they could face fines of up to €100,000 ($144,459).

Which might make things a little too cramped for any cocaine-fuelled orgies renters were hoping to have in an Airbnb stay.

In an interesting twist, the government is even calling upon the collective conscious of Berlin by asking locals to be good citizens and report any illegal renting activity that they spot online.

And it seems to be working – after the deadline was imposed, Airbnb listings dropped by 40 per cent in a month.

Airbnb Germany said, “Berliners want clear and simple rules for home sharing, so they can continue to share their own homes with guests. We will continue to encourage Berlin policymakers to listen to their citizens and to follow the example of other big cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam or Hamburg and create new, clear rules for normal people who are sharing their own homes.”

And these rules go for everyone –  even the super attractive female Berliners hoping to rent out an entire apartment.