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AirBnb complains about stricter regulations in Brussels

08:45 05/10/2023

The American corporation Airbnb is complaining about new measures that Brussels plans to put in place to combat the company’s effects on the housing market.

Like many other cities facing a shortage of affordable housing, Brussels hopes to crack down on investors and corporations who buy properties for the sole purpose of listing them for short-term rental stays on platforms such as Airbnb.

A VUB study found that an estimated 45% of the Brussels dwellings offered on Airbnb are offered by such real estate players, rather than local residents looking to temporarily rent out a room or their flat to provide tourists with a more authentic travel experience, as Airbnb’s mission claims.

The result, dubbed "the Airbnb effect", is that precious housing sits empty much of the time with no permanent residents, leading to a loss of neighbourhood character and increased pressure on the housing market.

Brussels has drafted a revised ordinance on furnished tourist accommodation to tackle the issue, but the American company has said that it is “too complex”.

The new regulations would provide a legislative framework that aims to safely rent out residential property as an economic activity while minimising the negative effects of an uncontrolled supply of tourist accommodations.

“The new draft regulation in Brussels is far too complex and imposes disproportionate administrative burdens on Brussels families wishing to temporarily rent out their homes,” Airbnb said in a statement.

“The regulation will require potential Airbnb landlords to submit a large number of supporting documents in order to obtain a registration number.”

Airbnb said that the new rules would also result in their rentals having to meet mandatory minimum requirements such as when it comes to lighting and kitchen equipment.

“Such regulations will continue to be detrimental to many families in the region, who depend on this additional income to make ends meet,” the American corporation said.

“We hope to work out new rules together with Brussels MPs that will make life easier, rather than more complicated, for Brussels families wishing to rent out their homes from time to time.”

Written by Helen Lyons