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Geneva limits AirBnb rentals to 60 nights a year

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Geneva limits AirBnb rentals to 60 nights a year
Photo: Depositphotos
20:59 CET+01:00
Authorities in the canton of Geneva have decided to cap the number of nights apartments can be rented on AirBnb or similar holiday rental platforms to 60 nights a year.

The rule changes, which kick in on April 1st, are designed to stop people breaking the law by using private residential properties for commercial purposes.

The city also hopes the move will boost the supply of rental properties for tenants who want to live in the city.

“This is not about killing off these platforms,” said Geneva housing chief Antonio Hodgers on Wednesday of the changes, which are modelled on similar developments in Amsterdam.

“We are conscious of the fact that Geneva is an international city and that these platforms are part of a modern offering,” he was quoted as saying in Swiss daily Le Temps.

“The renting out of a property on an occasional basis doesn't pose a problem,” said Hodgers, noting that 60 days a year corresponded with holiday periods and the odd weekend.

But Geneva authorities want to avoid a situation where properties are permanently advertised on holiday rental sites. “This ends up reducing the supply of rental apartments, which is not acceptable during periods of shortage.”

The cantonal housing boss warned that from now on anyone who rents out their property “in an intensive manner will be breaking the law”.

Cantonal authorities now plan to sit down with Airbnb and other companies offering similar services to hammer out an agreement on how to apply the rule changes.

Responding to the news, Airbnb said it welcomed the move to clear up regulations around home sharing and “distinguish between private individuals and professionals in tourist accommodation”.

There are currently 1,771 properties listed on Airbnb in the city of Geneva alone, more than any other city in Switzerland, according to figures compiled by Geneva daily the Tribune de Genève. Of these 1,255 are entire properties.

A total of 32% third of those properties are in the hands of professional tourism operators, a 2016 study of Airbnb by the Zurich Tenants' Association (MV) shows. That is one of the highest rates in Europe.

The current vacancy rate for rental apartments in Geneva is 0.8 percent or one third of the Swiss average, according to a property study published by UBS in January.

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