In Brussels, on the corner of Rue du Midi and Rue des Bogards, the first Airbnb apartments were closed up on Friday. The owner did not have the necessary permits for rental. The controls will be further tightened.
The owner of the building looked quite surprised Friday morning when the city services locked up three of his apartments. The 28-year-old young man himself lives on the fourth floor. The three apartments on the third floor, he says, he has been renting out for several months via the Airbnb platform.
But this is where the shoe pinces for the city council. According to urban planning, Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène (MR), the owner does not have the necessary permits to rent the apartments as tourist accommodation. And so a lock up was, after repeated reminders, the only option.
“This is unfair competition for the hotel sector,” says de Brachène. “In the city of Brussels alone, 1,500 such properties are offered. In the region there are even 6,000. But it is forbidden to withdraw housing for the benefit of tourist accommodation. Enough is enough. We have been warning the sector for a year. Now it’s time to move on to action. ”
“This is the denial of housing for the Brussels resident. This concerns housing expoitation. If a family goes on a holiday and rents out a house for several days or weeks is a completely different story. ”
In Paris, the city council also sued the Airbnb sub-platform earlier this week via judges, resulting in hundreds of thousands of euros of fines. Since the 1st of December everyone who leases to tourists is obliged to register. But in practice, that hardly happens.
The Brussels region has no plans to bring the platform to court, but does follow what happens in other metropolises. “The problem that Paris has with Airbnb can not be fully extended to Brussels. In Belgium there is no similar rule that imposes an obligation on platforms to only provide references to registered tourist accommodation “, it sounds from the office of Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort.
“We will first examine whether it is useful to introduce such an obligation for the platforms. We will also examine whether the Region or the federal government is competent for this. ”
The owner of the locked premises will now arrange the necessary permits as soon as possible. “Hiring through Airbnb simply increases. I saw this as a nice extra. But I understand these checks. “And according to the competent alderman, these inspections will be carried out in the coming months.