Berlin, Europe, Expat Living, Germany

Should You Book an Airbnb Apartment in Berlin?

September 14, 2016
Book an Airbnb Apartment in Berlin

Should You Book an Airbnb Apartment in Berlin?

I get a lot of emails from readers who are either looking for a holiday flat when they come to Berlin on vacation or are searching for a place to live once they move here permanently as an expat.

Many ask whether or not they should book an Airbnb apartment for the duration of their stay.

Should You Book an Airbnb Apartment in Berlin?

Book an Airbnb Apartment in Berlin

Image via Unsplash

The simple answer is NO.

First and foremost, you shouldn’t book an Airbnb apartment in Berlin as there’s a city-wide ban that took effect in the spring of 2016. Note: this ban also applies to similar apartment booking sites like Wimdu and 9Flats. The new law prohibits owners from renting out an entire apartment as a holiday flat offering short stays, regardless of whether it’s for a few days, weeks, or months. If they’re caught doing so, they could face stiff fines of up to €100,000.

Renting an apartment via Airbnb could mean facing the risk of having your reservation cancelled at the last minute, leaving you scrambling to find a place to stay and being forced to pay a higher price for a last-minute booking for your new accommodation.

Why You Shouldn’t Book an Airbnb Apartment in Berlin

It’s tougher than ever to find a flat to rent in Berlin. With people moving here at a record rate (the city’s seeing 80,000 new residents every year), not many apartments are available, causing rents to continue to climb at astronomical rates — as much as 56 percent since 2009! It can literally take weeks or even months to find a place to call home. Rental scams are also more prevalent than ever, seeing many naive newcomers getting robbed of their hard-earned cash. Just browse Free Advice Berlin to see how many people are being ripped off by shady landlords.

Part of the housing shortage can be attributed to the high number of apartments that were dedicated as holiday flats (just over 14,393 units out of approximately 2 million). Recognizing the surging popularity of Berlin, many owners took advantage, looking to make a fast buck and get more money from temporary tenants than long-term ones. As a result, even fewer apartments were left on the market for people who actually reside here and need somewhere to live.

The new law is only a small measure to address the housing problem, but at the moment, it’s Berlin’s best attempt to try to make more affordable apartments available for residents who live and work here on a long-term basis.

Alternatives to Renting an Airbnb Flat in Berlin

1) You can still use Airbnb to rent a room, just not an entire flat. The new law still permits owners to rent out rooms, so long as the room doesn’t cover more than 50 percent of the apartment’s floor space.

2) Read my article about using Facebook groups to help find a flat in Berlin.

3) If you’re here on vacation, kick it old school and book a hotel or hostel on booking.com.



Booking.com

Good to Know

1) Looking to find work in Berlin? Check out my article with 12 tips about how to find a job in Berlin.

2) Perhaps you’re new here and are feeling lonely. Learn how to make friends in Berlin. Or better yet, join the fast-growing Make Friends in Berlin Meetup community, now with over 2,700 members, and attend one of our monthly meetups. Alternatively, join the private Make Friends in Berlin Facebook group to start chatting with locals. 

3) Think you can get by on English alone? Find out why it’s important to learn German in Berlin.

4) Read my Berlin guide for anything and everything related to the German capital.

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Should You Book an Airbnb Apartment in Berlin.

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