New Berlin court ruling could free up thousands of houses for rent

New Berlin court ruling could free up thousands of houses for rent

The Upper Administrative Court for Berlin-Brandenburg (OVG) has ruled that illegal holiday lets can forcibly be turned into long-term rental accommodation regardless of when they first became holiday lets. The ruling has the potential to free up thousands of flats for rent, but could still face an appeal.

Berlin court issues new ruling on illegal holiday lets

Berlin already has some specific legal parameters for renting out a flat or house as a holiday let, but a new ruling by the OVG means that the city will be able to apply these rules in a more far-reaching way.

With Germany in the greatest housing shortage in 20 years, Berlin is one of the worst affected cities when it comes to a shortage of affordable homes. One contributor to this shortage is the widespread availability of short-term lets, which serve incoming tourism but leave locals at a loose end when it comes to looking for somewhere to live more permanently.

At the moment, Airbnb hosts are already required to apply for a permit from the city before they can legally rent out their entire flat to holidaymakers. However, many Airbnb hosts rent out accommodation illegally. If they are found to be letting illegally and started doing so within the last 10 years, the city can order that the flat be turned into a long-term let.

The reason that this 10-year window applies is that Berlin’s Misappropriation Act (Zweckentfremdungsverbotsgesetz), a ban on renting residential housing out for short-term lets, was adopted just over 10 years ago.

Now, under the new OVG ruling, the city would be able to order that a short-term holiday rental be turned into a long-term let, regardless of when the host began letting out the property for tourists.

How will the new OVG housing law affect Berlin renters?

For now, the OVG ruling is not legally binding and an appeal could still be launched against it. However, if it does come into effect, it has the potential to put thousands of flats back onto the rental market across the whole of Berlin.

In the Mitte alone, the district mayor’s office is currently investigating 1.700 properties which the authorities suspect are being illegally rented out as short-term lets.

Thumb image credit: ArTono /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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