Berlin regulates Airbnb and safely deflates its housing bubble while returning 8,000 rentals to the market


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/30/then-we-take-berlin-2.html


#2

where homes were converted to unlicensed, super-profitable hotel rooms, driving up housing prices, shrinking rental inventory, and making the city unaffordable for the people who lived and worked there.

Yeah, I agree that that is bad, but renting a room in your house [that other wise would be empty] is a horse of a different color. That’s what we do, our 3rd bed room was empty and not used prior to renting it on AirBnB, so it works for us.


#3

This is literally what these laws are intended to do, restrict use of Airbnb to the method you use. That’s literally it. The hue and cry over “mean ol’ gubbermint trying to control us” that I’m sure is going to come out of this thread like every Airbnb thread will ignore this, of course.


#4

I have pursued this very type of law here in San Diego. The City council / mayor is & has been for some time a lame duck, so movement isn’t likely any time soon. My direct involvement with other AirBnB’ers has been local families with an extra room to rent, that money goes straight back into our community / home improvements / and local businesses.

The entire house renters have been for the history of San Diego a blight on our city. No argument there…


#5

I would love to actually see my real/independent studies on the effect that airbnb really has on different housing markets. The article emphasizes airbnb, but only half of the 8000 rentals returned to the market were actually being rented out, the rest were sitting empty (owned by speculators, etc).

4000 rentals – is that a lot for a city of 3.5 million people?

I’m more familiar with the situation in Barcelona, where airbnb/vacation rentals are everywhere and are often blamed for housing costs (and are increasingly regulated/restricted/reviled).

It feels obvious that airbnb contributes to the ridiculous number of tourists coming into the city and needs some regulation (especially for whole-home/full-time-airbnb rentals, for safety/zoning/neighbourhood reasons), but I’m more skeptical about its impact on actual vacancies and rental costs. For me, bigger issues are things like lack of rent controls and other tenant protections, especially when a ‘cheap’ city (like Barcelona or Berlin) becomes popular with expats who can afford higher rents than the locals.


#6

4000 rentals is a huge chunk for a city of a few million people, particularly if they are concentrated in a few neighborhoods. Remember the housing market isn’t set by the total stock of housing in the market, but the amount on the market at any given time. For example there are generally only a few hundred units in a given neighborhood in certain price bands. https://guthmann-estate.com/marketreport/real-estate-report/ If you dump a few hundred extra units in those areas it is a huge loosening of the market.


#7

It’s a very American idea that you can just buy laws. I don’t think that works as well in Berlin. I think it works in London, but the concentration of billionaires there probably makes it a lot more expensive than a few million dollars.


#8

What you describe would be a welcome start toward deflating rental prices in Austin, Texas. Any property–heck, any shack–that is near the South By Southwest (SXSW) or Austin City Limits pleasure/leisure corridors is just ferociously expensive. I have watched entire neighborhoods swept with tides of popularity that make living in the “urban” core impossible for us regular folk.

I haven’t even begun to outline impacts to the communities of people living, dying, creating, working and raising families in what they thought was their own 'hood with their own resident peeps. Residents have a serious stake in safe streets and quiet times to put the kids to bed on school nights, or increasingly for the boomers, having some space to retire and die in peace.

City of Austin’s Short Term Rental program https://www.austintexas.gov/str seeks to regulate the whole dang thing, somehow.

I will be emailing Mayor Adler next with this Berlin scenario. Thanks bOING.

ETA: bc: reasons


#9

The trick with entire homes rentals is the balance. I love renting the house of someone who clearly lives there (and stays with family while renting) and gives us a locals guide to the neighborhood so I can go explore. I don’t like the rentals that are clearly the only thing the house is used for as I, like a lot of people, live in a city with issues that come from dedicated airbnbs.


#10

I would have gone with Las Ramblas, Gaudi, or Tapas as the primary drivers of tourists


#11

There isn’t a German Senate. It’s the Senate of Berlin, the executive body governing the city-state of Berlin.


#12

I hate AirBnB full home tourists sooo much.

My old condo building had upstairs neighbors who were working abroad and rented out their unit through AirBnB without telling the condo board. After a parade of noisy, tourists messing up the building, they fined the neighbors and insisted on full year leases for all rentals.


#13

Thanks! Fixed.


#14

There was a study (can’t find cite ATM, still writing today’s posts) that showed that the Airbnb inventory of San Francisco 1-2 bedroom whole-home rentals was equal to the expected “healthy” level of 1-2 bedroom apartments city planners would want to see to create a stable, livable housing market, with the strong implication that the housing SF needed to stabilize its housing crisis had all been taken off the market and converted to unlicensed, mostly vacant (because Airbnbs are profitable if rented a mere 25% of the time) hotel rooms.


#15

There is a way of looking at it that, were you to have a long term tenant, there would be established precedent for appropriate regulation. For short term room rentals, available on short notice etc, there is such precedent and regulation - in the form of hotels. Those hotel rooms would never qualify as long term rentals, for so many reasons, and the total number of those IS in many many places, capped and regulated and taxed.

It’s not disruptive to create a 3rd category, it’s evasive! I am sure the extra jingle of change in ones own pocket (it’s just one pocket, right?) makes up for any misgivings.

I don’t take it personal, but it stinks a bit from here! It’s not a giant thing, but it scales into one.


#16

At least in london, and other places around the uk, houses prices have been climbing for decades, i can‘t really see airbnb being the sole cause there, rather an attitude that homes aren‘t homes anymore, but investments. And with decades of homeprices outgrowing wage increases, stopping airbnb will do little.
And it‘s funny how it‘s reported in the uk. An obvious effect of this is that younger people and renters have less disposable cash, but it‘s reported as „New generations enjoy staying in rather than going out“ where the reality is „New generations can‘t afford to go out“
And boy, you see it in the declining nightlife and the thousands of closed pubs, it must have further effects throughtout the economy as money shifts up to smaller concentrations of land owners who reinvest in property and make it worse.


#17

The inability of San Diego’s mayor and city council to do anything at all about this issue is shameful.


#18

Ah, that’s interesting. I guess the numbers (of airbnbs) always just seemed a bit small to me to have such a big impact.


#19

One correction: Airbnb did fight San Francisco’s attempts to impose the same restrictions as London; but eventually capitulated and is now enforcing the city requirement to register and the 90 day limit. It is also providing host data to the city.

So we have the same rules as London now in San Francisco.


#20

I get your point but I won’t be sad to see fewer hotels so I don’t know that I agree.

If Airbnb “disrupts” the hotel business I don’t think that’s such a shame in itself (the fact that Airbnb is a for-profit monopoly creates it’s own issues but that’s another point) the problem with Airbnb is where all those extra rooms come from and how it distorts that market. The one that is about one of the essential things every human requires, shelter.

On a different note, I wonder how enforcement of that 90 day rule works in London. IIRC we have a 60 day limit in Amsterdam but since Airbnb refuses to share their user records (rightly so) this is nigh impossible to enforce.