Berlin Vacation Rental Ban

The landscape of renting is always changing. Berlin has enacted some changes about vacation rentals (

Berlin is facing a housing crisis. For years, rents in Berlin were cheap, but with the growth of international interest in the city, the rental landscape is changing. Rents have increased significantly in the last decade and in response the city is actively working to find ways to keep Berlin affordable. Much of the focus lately has been on the popularity of vacation rentals (Ferienwohnungen) in city, which are often in the most sought after locations.

What is a Vacation Rental

A vacation rental (Ferienwohnung) is a furnished apartment or home that is rented to tourists for limited periods of time. The State of Berlin defines it as an apartment that is rented out short term for weeks or days, specifically when the lease is for less than two months. This does not apply to the rental of single rooms, merely apartments where more than fifty-percent of the space is used as a Ferienwohnung.

Why Crack Down on Vacation Rentals? 

These types of apartments have become very popular through rental websites such as Airbnb which has led to an increase of availability and accessibility for average consumers. However, in popular vacation cities such as Berlin where there is often not enough available affordable housing, the use of apartments strictly as vacation rentals has only compounded the problem as instead of letting go of a lease, many choose to simply rent out apartments to tourists instead. The state of Berlin estimates that some 12,000 apartments in Berlin are used as vacation rentals (2016).

New Law

In an effort to combat the expansion of Ferienwohnungen in Berlin, the Berlin state senate passed the Ban on the Repurposing of Housing (Zweckentfremdungsverbot von Wohnraum). The law requires all vacation rentals to have permission in order to continue to operate. It was instituted on the 1st of May, 2014. Landlords had until the 30th of April, 2016 to apply for and receive permission from local offices to use the apartment as a vacation rental.

There is now a task force of officials who have the job of inspecting suspected Ferienwohnungen. An online form which can be filled out if the public suspects an apartment of being a vacation rental.

Consequences for not receiving permission to have a Ferienwohnung can be harsh. The law specifically states that a fine of up to 100,000 Euro can be incurred through unlawful repurposing of apartments. 

Further Information