Norwegian renters’ association: Regulate AirBnB

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Poster in Berlin aimed at deterring tourists from using AirBnB. Photo: Gunnhild Hokholt Bjerve / NTB Scanpix
10:16 CEST+02:00
The Norwegian renters’ association LBF is concerned that the popular holiday rental site AirBnB may be compromising regular renters’ ability to find affordable accommodation in Norway.

Lars Aasen, head of LBF, has now suggested that renting out a home via AirBnB must be subject to approval by authorities and regulated.

“We believe some restrictions have to be introduced on the more commercial operations,” Aasen told NTB.

AirBnB is a website that allows a person to rent out their homes or a room within their home to other people. However, Aasen believes that a number of “commercial actors” have also begun to rent out properties via the popular service in major Norwegian cities such as Oslo.

He found that roughly one third of people renting out rooms or apartments via AirBnB offered discounts for long-term stays.

“That is an indication that these may be commercial operations,” said Aasen, referring to an example from Berlin, where one AirBnB host had no less than 44 properties up for rent on the site.

“Apparently, many people are buying apartments solely to rent them out via AirBnB.”

He also noted that renting via AirBnB provides the renter with far fewer rights than a standard rental contract in Norway, and he fears that people desperate for accommodation will be pushed into accepting worse conditions in order to land a place to stay.

Marianne K. Andenæs from the National Union of Students in Norway is similarly concerned about the increasing popularity of the controversial service in Norway.

“Students are already in a challenging housing situation. Less than 15 percent of students can get student accommodation, and the vast majority must find a place to stay through the private rental market. If more properties are being used for short-term rentals, it can become more difficult for students to find accommodation,”, she told NTB.

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According to Aasen, LBF has received several accounts of people who have been evicted by property owners who instead wanted to rent their properties out to AirBnB renters instead.

He added that more cities across Europe and the USA are introducing rules for renting out accommodation in this fashion, and proposes that similar regulation is needed in Norway.

“We need a limit to how long you can rent out accommodation on AirBnB and an approval scheme,” Aasen told NTB.

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