Brussels does not violate European directives in fight against Airbnb, court rules

The City of Brussels is not violating European directives in its fight against professional Airbnb hosts. This is the verdict of the Court of First Instance after five major Airbnb providers filed a lawsuit in the capital, De Standaard reports in its Thursday edition.

According to the Brussels Accommodation Act, anyone wishing to offer an Airbnb or other tourist accommodation in the capital must register with the Brussels-Capital Region. This requires several documents, including an extract from the criminal record, a fire safety certificate, and a certificate of conformity for urban development.

The latter seems to be a stumbling block for professional hosts. According to the 2001 Regional Development Plan, buildings zoned for residential use cannot simply be rezoned for tourist accommodation. Therefore, they do not receive a certificate of conformity and cannot be registered.


The professional hosts argued that the law is breaching European single-market rules. However, the Brussels court did not accept this argument. Nevertheless, the owners can still appeal against the decision.

The centre of Brussels must not become a sterile environment without housing

Anaïs Maes (Vooruit), Brussels city councillor for urban planning, is pleased with the ruling. "The centre of Brussels must not become a sterile environment without housing. We do not want our capital to go down the same road as Amsterdam."

Cities vs Airbnb

Around the world, more and more cities are cracking down on Airbnb. For example, New York recently ruled renting out an entire apartment is no longer possible. Berlin had already introduced a licensing requirement for accommodation offered through the platform in April 2016, meaning that individuals could no longer provide entire homes for holiday rentals. Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona have also taken measures to prevent the housing shortage and affordable housing from becoming a utopia.


© Gilles Targat / Photo12 via AFP

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