Stricter rules for Airbnb does not affect those who want to rent accommodations
London is one of the European cities where the rules of Airbnb has been tightened.
In 2016 several major cities introduced tougher rules against the rental agency Airbnb. In New York, landlords have to pay heavy fines if they rent an apartment illegally, and in San Francisco Airbnb is forced to check if their landlords property is registered with the local authorities. Even in Europe the rules against Airbnb have become stricter, reports SVT (in Swedish).
Although the rules tightened for rental agencies and their landlords, these changes do not affect those who want to rent accommodation. When you book accommodation through a rental agency, you are still signing the contract with private person renting the accommodation - not the actual agency. Then consumer laws do not apply. Therefore, there are some important things to consider before you book through an agency.
What to keep in when booking through rental agencies
- Remember that you have no right of withdrawal when you book a trip or accommodation online. Read the rules, conditions and small print about the accommodation you are interested in.
- It may be helpful to ask for proof that the landlord is permitted to rent out the residence. Especially in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin, where the rules for rental by individuals has become harder. In Berlin, for example, there are controllers that ensure that the rules are followed.
- Be certain on what applies if you need to cancel. For example, Airbnb let their landlords choose from three standard cancellation policies. Look up what applies for the accommodation you are interested in.
- Do not rely blindly on fancy images. An agency have no responsibility to check that the landlords pictures or description of the accommodation are correct. Read evaluations and reviews from previous tenants.
- Always pay through the agency's website. For example, Airbnb has a guest compensation policy you can use if you would like to withdrawal. If the landlord asks you to complete the transaction outside the website, you should not book accommodation.
If you are not satisfied with the accommodation
If you are not satisfied with the accommodation, always complain on site to the landlord so he or she gets a chance to fix the problem. If the landlord does not correct the error, you should contact the agency.
How quickly you must contact the agency varies. For Airbnb, you must within 24 hours from check-in contact them with your complaint. They mediate if necessary and have the final say in all disputes. Airbnb might require the landlord to compensate you if he or she violated one or more of Airbnb's standards of hospitality.
What can the ECC Sweden do?
If you have problems with an accommodation you booked through Airbnb or other rental agency, ECC Sweden can not help you because you rented accommodation from a private individual. Read more about what applies when renting private accommodation abroad.