Airbnb is a platform not an estate agent, says Europe’s top court – means they don’t have to collect taxes for counties either

Airbnb will be breathing a sigh of relief today: Europe’s top court has judged it to be an online platform, which merely connects people looking for short-term accommodation, rather than a full-blown estate agent.

The ruling may make it harder for the “home sharing” platform to be forced to comply with local property regulations — at least under current regional rules governing e-commerce platforms.

The judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) today follows a complaint made by a French tourism association, AHTOP, which had argued Airbnb should hold a professional estate agent licence. And, that by not having one, the platform giant was in breach of a piece of French legislation known as the “Hoguet Law.”

However, the court disagreed — siding with Airbnb’s argument that its business must be classified as an “information society service” under EU Directive 2000/31 on electronic commerce.

Commenting on the ruling in a statement, Luca Tosoni, a research fellow at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law at the University of Oslo, told us: “The Court’s finding that online platforms that facilitate the provision of short-term accommodation services, such as Airbnb, qualify as providers of ‘information society services’ entails strict limitations on the ability to introduce or enforce restrictive measures on similar services by a Member State other than that in whose territory the relevant service provider is established.”

Source: Airbnb is a platform not an estate agent, says Europe’s top court | TechCrunch

Amsterdam was hoping to make Airbnb collect tourist taxes too, which the county of Amsterdam will now have to do themselves. Also, Amsterdam – a 100% tourist city – is now whining that it doesn’t want tourists any more and is blaming Airbnb for having them.


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