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Published 20 June 2019
Opinion

European cities join efforts to denounce short-term vacation rentals for their effect on long-term rent prices and neighborhoods.

Ten European cities joined together to present a shared letter to the EU asking for help in confronting Airbnb and other short-term lettings rental websites.

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Amsterdam, Barcelona, ​​Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia, and Vienna sent a letter to European commissioners alleging that the growth of short-term rental platforms endanger neighborhood life and especially prohibit locals from affording decent housing.

“European cities believe homes should be used first and foremost for living in,” they said.

“Many suffer from a serious housing shortage. Where homes can be rented out more lucratively to tourists, they vanish from the traditional housing market.”

Many cities say the increase of short-term rentals are threatening long-term leases by creating more scarcity, adding to an already important list of other factors such as speculation and lack of provision for social housing.

For instance, in Paris, more than 26,000 housing units that were previously available in the long-term rental market have disappeared to profit from short-term vacation rentals.

In addition to that, the growing scarcity of long-term rental units is driving up prices, including sales prices.

As a result, locals in a majority of tourist-friendly cities in Europe are finding it more and more difficult to find affordable housing.

From the tourist’s and the consumer’s point of view, the sharing economy and platforms such as Airbnb are convenient because they allow them to easily find rentals in large cities and generally, at reasonable prices when compared to the prices charged by hotels, for example.

But according to the cities who signed the letter, this comes with negative side effects. The traditional housing market is being brutally destabilized and the life of neighborhoods is changing. Other changes like the disappearance of local businesses in favor of shops targeting tourists could be cited.

After several years of growth, Airbnb currently has more than 18,000 listings in Amsterdam and Barcelona, 22,000 in Berlin, and nearly 60,000 in Paris.

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