Economics

What Uber Can Learn From Airbnb In Germany

Airbnb may be close to scoring a legal victory in Germany, now that local authorities in Berlin have agreed to review the existing laws which prohibit landlords from offering their properties for short-term leases. This follows a marketing campaign partly sponsored by the home-sharing platform, which has also been engaging with policymakers in a bid to resolve the issue.

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Airbnb
By DesignStudio (Airbnb's Design Department) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
One of the proposals being discussed would allow individuals to rent their apartment or house for up to 60 days per year, and it could be written into law as early as spring 2018. The new legislation seeks to close existing legal loopholes and thereby clarify the parameters under which private individuals can rent out their properties.

If enacted, this would mark a significant victory for the company. Airbnb has long drawn criticism from around the world that its service enables landlords to essentially turn homes into hotel rooms. Concerns suggest that this is adding upward pressure on housing costs and thereby driving out longer-term tenants who can't keep up with the rent increases.

Germany's concessions, if written into law, would be in stark contrast to the troubles faced in Europe by another high-profile, VC-backed company based in America.

Ridehailing giant Uber, of course, has faced several bans across the continent recently, culminating in Transport for London's decision to remove its operating licence for the capital. Subsequently, Taxify and Via have reportedly had applications delayed to operate in the city.

Airbnb's potential success hasn't come out of the blue, however, and its conciliatory measures may be something Uber should look to employ. After facing a plethora of legal challenges across the globe in the past few years, Airbnb has been steadily negotiating arrangements with high-demand cities. Last year, it agreed with Amsterdam officials to enforce rental day limits in the city, while in London, the company is self-enforcing a policy to ensure renters have a change-of-use permission for a post-90-day stay.

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Article by Eric Burg, PitchBook