Profit from the Laws against Misappropriation of Living Space with Homelike!

What is the Ban on the Misappropriation of Living Space About?

The misappropriation of living space is a phenomenon that has been the subject of discussion for several years. The term refers to any use of living space that differs from residential purposes. This includes e.g. the conversion into offices and commercial space or the use as a holiday home or storage space, as well as vacancy.


Since Airbnb and other sharing economy providers have made it profitable to rent residential space to short-term travelers, the phenomenon of “misappropriation of living space” has been seen as a problem. After all, living space is becoming increasingly scarce, especially in urban areas.


Many German cities struggling with housing shortages have taken action against this in the last few years. These include large cities such as Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. But even in regions such as Lower Saxony, the state government has already passed a law against the misappropriation of living space.

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Why Homelike Landlords Benefit Without Contributing to the Misappropriation of Living Space

Many landlords of furnished apartments may be concerned about the future of their properties in the face of these new laws. So why should Homelike landlords benefit?


First of all, the terms “furnished apartment” and “temporary accommodation” must be viewed in a more differentiated way. After all, not all furnished apartments are also used as holiday apartments and thus for non-residential purposes.


Unlike short-term rentals through Airbnb, Homelike apartments are not designed for short visits or vacations. Instead, they offer people from out of town the opportunity to live in the respective city for a limited period of time. The apartments will thus not be used for the accommodation of tourists, but for residential purposes, albeit for a limited period of time.


Homelike requires a minimum rental period of 30 days, which also allows registration of residence in the respective city. Homelike landlords can therefore be sure that they give a home to someone who is in the city for a longer period of time. As a Homelike landlord, you help e.g. specialists from abroad to find a beautiful home quickly and conveniently, without contributing to the problem of the misappropriation of living space.

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Regulations Vary Considerably from Region to Region

Depending on the city and federal state, there are individual regulations for the misappropriation of living space, which determine what is permitted and what is prohibited. The fines can be very high in some cases. The maximum rate in Lower Saxony, for example, is €50,000, but in Berlin and Munich, it can be up to €500,000.

The Berlin Law on Misappropriation of Living Space

In Germany, Berlin has one of the strictest laws on this subject. Since 2014, the city has been imposing fines on the misappropriation of living space. In the past year, Berlin has raised about € 2.6 million in this way.


Private individuals may accommodate holiday guests in their main apartment throughout the year, provided that it is also used as an apartment by the provider. In secondary homes, however, the maximum duration of accommodation is only 90 days.


The use of living space for other purposes requires registration and permission in the entire city area.

Berlin Wohnraum Zweckentfremdung

Hamburg’s Housing Protection Act

The Hamburg Housing Protection Act states that living space must always be in a condition that allows it to be used for residential purposes without restrictions. This also has an effect on the possible use as a holiday home.


Subletting as a holiday home is only permitted in Hamburg if it is the landlord’s main apartment and they live in the apartment for at least 6 full months in the year. Short-term subletting of less than half of the apartment is permitted throughout the year if the provider also occupies it all year round.


Unlike in Berlin, no registration is required for these types of subletting.

Muenchen Wohnraum Zweckentfremdungs-Verbot

Bavaria is also Taking Action Against the Appropriation of Living Space

The Bavarian state capital of Munich is currently taking action against owners of misappropriated apartments, too. The permanent leasing of living space as a holiday home is prohibited.


It is permitted to rent the entire apartment for a total of 8 weeks per year if the provider otherwise lives in the apartment. Alternatively, apartment owners may let a small share of the living space to guests. This includes, for example, the 10m² large former children’s bedroom of a 90m² flat.


The responsible authorities checked more than 21,000 homes last year. About 300 are now available again for renting for residential purposes. However, with 77 apartments, only the smallest proportion was holiday homes. In 120 flats, on the other hand, vacancies were reported, while about 100 were used commercially without permission.

Ina Möllers

Ina Möllers is responsible for PR and Content Marketing at Homelike. She previously lived in Tokyo, London, and Berlin but recently returned to her roots in Cologne where she's trying to crack the secret to baking the world's best banana bread.