Expats and locals alike have been experiencing the increasingly difficult challenge to find accommodation in Berlin the last few years, especially in the more central and trendy areas of the German capital. Alongside topics like gentrification & start-ups, housing capacity shortage has been in everyone’s conversations, which naturally lead to question the impact of short-term rental platforms like airbnb on the current situation. In other terms; how many flats are being repeatedly put for rent by owners as holiday rentals when they could be made available to local long-term tenants?
A first attempt at objectively measuring the extent of the problem in Berlin was made by Studio Karat through their dedicated website: airbnbvsberlin.de. Put together thanks to data provided by the platform itself, this allowed for a data-driven analysis of the situation.
On 01/05/2016, a new law was voted by the city Senate in an effort to limit the effect of such platforms onto the long-term local housing market. Named “Zweckentfremdungsverbot” (law against misappropriation of housing space), this regulation threatens anyone who puts an entire flat* for rent with the intent of generating profit with a fine up to 100 000€ per violation. Any commercial exploitation has to be sanctioned with a special permit from the city. This move received acclaim from many local actors who saw the end of abusive listings. However, since this law passed, we can still see many listings on airbnb up to this date.
It is therefore quite interesting to again have a look at the data today, and the story it tells us: did the new law have the desired effect of reducing unwanted listings?
Studio Karat released another data-driven study on their blog and gives us a few clues on the answer.