European cities require help from the European Commission to address short-term rental websites expansion

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In a common letter, ten European cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, and Paris have stated that the massive growth of short-term rental platforms is increasing rental for locals and changing the face of neighbourhoods. According to the letter, the activities of these online platforms must be on the agenda of the next European commissioners and must be regulated. The letter was triggered by the CJEU’s advocate general opinion, issued in April, that Airbnb, under the EU law, should be considered a digital information provider and not a real estate agent. If the opinion is followed by the CJEU, Airbnb and similar online platforms will be able to operate across EU countries with any responsibility to ensure that owners comply with local rental laws and administrative rules. The European cities believe that houses should be primarily used for living in, and, secondarily, for tourism. City authorities are also concerned that the EU’s efforts to foster e-commerce and sharing-economy platforms will prevent neighbourhoods to remain affordable and liveable for residents.   


 

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