EU top court: France can’t apply real estate rules on Airbnb

International News
Brian Chesky

FILE – This Feb. 22, 2018, file photo shows an Airbnb logo during an event in San Francisco. Airbnb’s Chief Operating Officer Belinda Johnson is stepping down from her post in order to achieve a better work-life balance.
Johnson will join the San Francisco-based company’s board. CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement Friday, Nov. 22, 2018 that Johnson was the first executive he hired for Airbnb. She’s worked for the business since 2011.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s highest court rejected Thursday a case brought by hotels arguing Airbnb should be subject to strict rules governing French estate agents.

The case was submitted by a French court after a major association of hotels, including leading chains such as Best Western, filed a complaint arguing that the Ireland-registered company should be submitted to the same obligations as traditional real estate providers.

The hotel industry in France, like in many other countries across the world, accuses the online rental platform of unfair competition.

Hotel owners wanted Airbnb to follow real estate agent accounting, insurance and other financial rules. But Airbnb denied acting as a real estate agent.

In its ruling on Thursday, the Court of Justice said that Airbnb should be classified as an “information society service” and that “France cannot require Airbnb to hold an estate agent’s professional licence.”

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