Geneva facing battle to enforce 90-night short-term rental cap

Geneva: A report by the Local Switzerland publication claims the Swiss canton of Geneva is struggling to enforce a 90-night cap on short-term rentals for people to rent out accommodation.

Last year, a 60-night cap was established, however this was later raised to 90 nights following a legal challenge.

The rule changes were designed to prevent people from breaking the law by using private residential properties for commercial purposes, as well as to ensure an adequate supply of rental properties was provided for Geneva residents at any given time.

However, a year later, the latest regime appears to have had little impact, according to the publication.

The canton has not been able to count on the support of Airbnb, meaning it has only been able to act after receiving formal complaints, as stated by Swiss state broadcaster RTS.

To date, just three complaints have been filed in relation to the newly-launched rules while no penalties have been handed out either.

Geneva vice president Antonio Hodgers admitted that some cases had been slipping “under the radar” but stressed that there were still positives to take from the rule changes.

He explained that the canton had been in direct contact with “large firms, including real estate agents that rent out multiple apartments” and this had led to part of the holiday accommodation market being regulated.

That answer has so far done little to satisfy the local hotel industry, which continues to view rental platforms like Airbnb as unfair competition in the accommodation space.

Tourism researcher Nicolas Délétroz said the ideal solution for the canton would involve Airbnb introducing a limit on Geneva apartments via its own IT system. This has proven to be a stumbling block in negotiations thus far though.

Meanwhile, Airbnb said it was “continuing to work with Geneva authorities to create rules that reflect how people want to live in our times”.

According to company figures, approximately 900,000 people rented out apartments in Switzerland on Airbnb in 2017, representing a 300 per cent increase across a three-year period.