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Airbnb rental process too complex and terminology vague, says study

16:53 03/03/2020

Believe it or not, Brussels regulations governing Airbnb rentals are too complex and full of vague terminology. And it takes way too along for an approval.

That is the message relayed by ULB in an evaluation commissioned by the Brussels Capital-Region early last year. The independent research was meant to help the region pinpoint any problems with the process of homeowners getting approval to place their property, or a part thereof, on the popular holiday booking site.

That evaluation was delivered to the region in May but never released. Bruzz recently got a hold of it, and it seems it is quite critical of the process – in force since 2014 – required by Brussels residents to simply put a room on the rental site.

The evaluation points out that much of the terminology is open to interpretation. Some words and phrases have potentially multiple meanings and are not adequately explained. As an example, the phrase l’hébergement touristique is used without making clear whether it means ‘tourist accommodation’ as a noun or as a verb.

One capital, 19 procedures

The wait for an approval is also much too long, according to the ULB study, and – naturally – every municipality in the capital interprets the requirements in a different way.

The researchers made a number of suggestion to improve the process – last May, you’ll remember. One was to require a distinction between an individual who wants to rent a room or a whole flat or house and real estate or hotel professionals. The procedure should be easier for the former, ULB suggests.

The study also suggests limiting the number of rental days to 120 for individuals as well as limiting the number of contracts in one building at any given time to two. Parliamentarian Mathias Vanden Borre (N-VA), for one, would like to see the procedure simplified and streamlined as soon as possible.

“Individuals who want to rent out a room or two in their own homes shouldn’t be punished for that,” he told Bruzz. “Sharing platforms are valuable for Brussels and its residents.”

Written by Lisa Bradshaw