Airbnb is now utilized by over 190 countries. While it is popular among budget-conscious travelers, it has received a mixed reception from regulatory boards around the world. Some cities believe that Airbnb diverts already scarce housing to short-term rentals, while others are more welcoming of the increased tourism. Below is an overview of Airbnb laws in some of the most popular locations.
Paris. With over 40,000 listings in Paris alone, it is Airbnb’s most popular vacation destination. Nevertheless, there are substantial government regulations enacted on secondary apartments in Paris for short-term rental units. Specifically, government inspectors enforced a ban on short-term stays in investment properties booked through Airbnb and similar websites. People who want to rent out an investment property must own an equivalent property with a long-term tenant. While the Parisian government has no problem with its citizens renting out their home on holiday, they are concerned that someone may take advantage of Airbnb by purchasing more properties for the sole purpose of turning them into short-term rentals. Violators can be fined over $28,000 dollars.
It is important to note that homeowners in Paris are free to rent out their primary residence for up to four months per year.
Berlin. Rents in Berlin have been rising faster than in any other city in Germany. Because affordable housing has become increasingly scarce, German officials passed a law banning short-term rentals that have not received explicit permission from the Berlin Senate. Further, any landlord who catches a tenant subletting their apartments to Airbnb users has the power to evict the tenant.
Amsterdam. Amsterdam has far fewer regulations against Airbnb than other European countries. In 2015, Amsterdam announced a cooperative effort with Airbnb. While the city levies a tourist tax on rentals, Airbnb works to educate potential hosts of all the rules and regulations.
Chicago. Although Airbnb is taxed in Chicago, it is completely legal. Hosts must obtain a license for a vacation rental, but before a license is issued, Department of Buildings officials can conduct an on-site or administrative inspection of the property. A max of six dwelling units per building can be licensed as a vacation rental at the same time.
New York. Current New York state law restricts renting for fewer than 30 days if the owner is not present at the property. Like Chicago, Airbnb hosts must obtain a license. Despite these laws, the State Attorney General found that approximately 75% of the city’s rentals over a four-year period were illegal. As a result, hefty fines were imposed on violators.
Philadelphia. Airbnb is considered legal, but only in specific situations. All hosts must obtain a housing inspection license, a business privilege license (although this can be waived if the property has four or fewer units and the owner lives on the premises), business tax account number and zoning approval for the property to operate as a short-term rental.
San Diego. Property owners must obtain a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate if they rent out sleeping accommodations to guests for less than one month. Short-term rental operators may have to pay a Rental Unit Tax if the entire property is rented for more than six days in a calendar year. The Rental Unit Tax does not apply if the home is owner occupied or if the owner is only renting a portion of the residence.
San Francisco. Airbnb is quite controversial in San Francisco, but it is permitted. All Airbnb hosts must register a residence and have lived in the residence for at least 275 days per year. If the host hasn’t lived in the dwelling for an entire year, he must have lived in the specific residential unit for 60 consecutive days prior to the application. Hosts must also maintain at least $500,000 of liability insurance or provide proof that liability coverage in an equal or higher amount is provided by Airbnb. There are also special rules that apply to hosts in rent-controlled properties.
What Should You Do If You Intend to Become an Airbnb Host?
Laws in different countries and cities vary drastically. If you want to become an Airbnb host, make sure to research your local laws to ensure you are in compliance with all regulations.
Authored by Erin Chan-Adams, Legal Match Legal Writer and Attorney at Law