MEP Kim van Sparrentak has been leading the EU push to regulate short-term rental platforms. (Credit: Photographer: Eric VIDAL Copyright: © European Union 2023 - Source : EP)


Why is Airbnb so at home with new Brussels regulations?

While many industries would rather Brussels keep its hands off their affairs, US-based rental platform Airbnb has raised eyebrows by celebrating its own European Union regulation


While many industries would rather Brussels keep its hands off their affairs, US-based rental platform Airbnb has raised eyebrows by celebrating its own European Union regulation.

In a sponsored article in Politico, Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk praised the EU’s new measures, which seek to centralise data gathering on “short-term rental platforms”.

Blecharczyk called the EU’s move “an example to the world”.

While he congratulated the bloc for updating the continent’s previously “unclear and outdated” regulations, others have more cynical impressions of Airbnb’s response.

The rules in question are the “Data collection and sharing relating to short-term accommodation rental services”, which have been spearheaded by Dutch Green MEP Kim van Sparrentak.

The initiative aims to establish uniform regulations across the EU for collecting and sharing information about the rental market. One of the main points is that all “hosts”, or landlords, have to register the properties they are renting with national authorities.

This is being implemented as a workaround to the fact that the EU has no direct jurisdiction over housing policy.

It would then be up to national and even regional or municipal authorities to decide what to do with the data they gather.

Speaking to Brussels Signal, one anonymous source close to EU policymaking said Airbnb was celebrating because the new legislation was in its financial interests, rather than out of social compassion.

“The purpose of this regulation will be to get all black-market rentals on to the Airbnb platform,” our source said.

The move comes as much of the EU faces a chronic housing crisis, with many younger and poorer citizens unable to afford to buy a home or even rent suitable dwellings.

Much of the blame has been attributed to Airbnb and similar platforms, as landlords rent their flats and houses to short-term holidaymakers rather than long-term tenants.

Speaking in an interview with Dutch investigative outlet Follow the Money, Van Sparrentak had previously said Airbnb “hijacked a lot of living space” in European cities, calling the company ” a phenomenon that eats up” residential accommodation.

She had previously led a non-biding EP report on “access to decent and affordable housing for all”, which called on the EC to propose a strategy on affordable social housing and to eradicate homelessness by 2030.

EU NGO Housing Europe credited Sparrentak with “building up” an EU-level push to alleviate the continental housing crisis.

The NGO said the new measures were “only a first step”, adding there was now “a lot at stake on national level”.

According to Housing Europe, Europeans needed “to be quite critical” of Airbnb’s support for the regulation and the involvement of it and other short-term rental platforms in the law-making process.

A recent study from the Free University of Brussels found a direct correlation between the presence of Airbnb and other rental platforms and rental prices in the EU capital.

According to official EU transparency databases, Airbnb and other companies such as and Expedia had almost 20 separate meetings with MEPs involved in the legislation.

As of writing, Airbnb had not responded to questions put to it by Brussels Signal.