Airbnb scored a major victory against hoteliers today when the European Court of Justice ruled that the short-term home rental platform cannot be treated as a real estate agency by EU regulators.
The court said Airbnb was merely an online platform.
The French hotel lobby, the Association for Professional Accommodation and Tourism (AhTop) had argued that Airbnb should face the same regulations and obligations as traditional real estate companies.
But the ECJ rejected AhTop’s claims on the basis that Airbnb’s principle feature is not real estate but rather it is a platform though which Airbnb connects home owners and individuals seeking accommodation.
“We welcome this judgment and want to move forward and continue working with cities on clear rules that put local families and communities at the heart of sustainable 21st century travel,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement after the ruling.
“We want to be good partners to everyone and already we have worked with more than 500 governments and authorities to help hosts share their homes, follow the rules and pay tax.”
Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk immediately sent a letter to major cities across Europe, including to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, saying: “Cities can, should and do have their own clear and modern rules for home sharing, and we have worked with governments across the globe on measures to help hosts share their homes, follow the rules and pay their fair share of tax.”