Vacation rental sites like Airbnb and Homeaway are contentious subjects in the apartment and condo world. In such a dense community, it's a problem to have unknown 'visitors' continually entering the building. Property owners and managers also don't appreciate being left out of the revenue it might produce the unit's residents.

Berlin has become the first city to ban these vacation rental offerings in apartments. New laws will take Saturday, May 1st, that makes it illegal for residents to shop out their apartments on vacation rental sites. For building owners, it means fewer security concerns in their communities - it also rules out any potential for them to make a quick buck off the new business strategy.

The penalty for breaking the law is a substantial €100,000 ($113,000) fine — levied on people renting their homes, never on the guests themselves. There will still be some loopholes that allow a few vacation apartments to persist, but it seems that, in Berlin at least, the astronomical rise of Airbnb and other short-stay rental sites is effectively over.

The new laws still don’t mean all Berlin home stays will disappear overnight. People will still be able to rent out rooms in their homes, as long as the rooms don’t cover more than 50 percent of the property’s floor space. Landlords will also be able to apply for official permits to rent out entire apartments short-term from the local borough. Their applications must include a convincing explanation of why they need to rent the apartment short-term, which will be scrutinized and quite possibly rejected by the borough. For those that are approved, the apartment can be rented for no more than the average rent per square meter for the local area.

Read more >