Welcomed by the US home-renting company Airbnb, the European Commission announced on January 24 that the city of Brussels could be charged for its strict home sharing rules.
“The Belgian regulatory framework imposes disproportionate requirements that are not compatible with the Services Directive,” the Commission said. It said a simple central online registration system for accommodation providers would have sufficed.
It sent a letter of formal notice to Belgian authorities, the first step in a procedure that could lead to court action and fines.
As it stands today, a growing number of landlords are withdrawing their properties from the long-term market in favour of more lucrative short-term stays. But regulators want a balance.
The rules imposed by the Belgian capital do not differentiate between professional or private rentals, large hotels, small bed & breakfasts and the private rental of rooms, the EU executive said.
Airbnb, which has more than 1,000 listings in Brussels, said the city should follow other regions in Belgium with clear rules.
“While both Flanders and Wallonia have adopted progressive and simple rules for home sharing, Airbnb hosts in Brussels currently face a confusing and burdensome administrative process, that doesn’t fit with how people share their homes in modern Brussels,” it said.