Berlin senate bans short rentals

Berlin’s senate has voted against short term lets to tourists in an attempt to stop rising rents in the city.

It is estimated that as many as 12,000 apartments have been taken off the long-term rental market in recent years, leading to a shortage of housing among the resident population, as well as increasing rents.

Residents have also been complaining of night-time noise, disorderly behaviour and constant rubbish caused by tourists using short-term rental accommodation.

However the city reserves the right to waive the ban in certain neighbourhoods and in certain cases such as for asylum seekers, foreigners with fixed-term work contracts, au pairs, interns and diplomats.

Details of the law will be laid down in an ordinance to be published in March 2014 but there will be two years to comply with the regulations, which critics say will allow unscrupulous landlords to continue with short letting for too long.

However the association of Brandenburg housing companies is reported in the English online edition of Der Spiegel as saying that if only a few thousand apartments return to the long-term market this will still not be enough to satisfy the increasing demand for housing in the city.

According to expat associations rents in Berlin are still lower, and the apartments much more spacious, than those in other EU cities.