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platform limit Geneva caps annual Airbnb rentals at 60 days

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Prime real estate: Geneva's housing market is already fiercely competitive.

(Keystone)

Authorities in Geneva have ruled that private apartments or houses can be rented on platforms such as Airbnb for a maximum of 60 days annually. Those failing to comply will be fined, they said.

Taking their cue from other European cities such as Berlin, which have capped the amount of time private accommodation can be offered on Airbnb, the Geneva cantonal government said on Wednesday that the figure of 60 days represented an approximation of “school holidays and some weekends”.

Such a ceiling thus allows for hosts who genuinely live in the apartment to sublet it on certain occasions; anything beyond this figure, however, means that the nature of the accommodation has shifted to something more commercial.

The regulation will come into effect from April 1. Fines will be imposed on those who fail to respect the limit, the government said.

+ Read about the huge growth of Airbnb in Switzerland in recent years

The goal of the regulation is to tackle the problem of apartments being used primarily as rentals for travellers rather than being let on the market as homes. The housing market in Geneva is already very tight, while owner occupancy of apartments is also extremely low.

The decision comes after some years of debate in Switzerland about how best to regulate Airbnb, which has continued to gain in strength across the country. Cantons have debated leaning on the company to collect tourist tax – a step already taken in Zug – while canton Geneva had reportedly also considered a complete ban of the platform.

Airbnb welcomed Wednesday’s decision, but warned that the new regulations should not bring about “onerous administrative formalities for hosts”.

Some 2,000-3,000 accommodations in Geneva are offered on Airbnb’s site, according to the authorities.

SDA-ATS/dos

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