Airbnb deemed an 'information society service' and not a real estate agent (ECJ, Dec 2019)

  • "By its judgment of 19 December 2019, Airbnb Ireland (C-390/18), the Grand Chamber of the [European] Court [of Justice] held, first, that an intermediation service which, by means of an electronic platform, is intended to connect, for remuneration, potential guests with professional or non-professional hosts offering short-term accommodation services, while also providing a certain number of services ancillary to that intermediation service, must be classified as an ‘information society service’ under Directive 2000/31 on electronic commerce. (...)

  • The dispute in the main proceedings concerns criminal proceedings brought in France following a complaint, together with an application to be joined as a civil party to the proceedings, lodged against Airbnb Ireland by the Association pour un hébergement et un tourisme professionnels (Association for professional tourism and accommodation, AHTOP).

  • Airbnb Ireland is an Irish company that manages an electronic platform which, in return for payment of a commission, makes it possible to establish contact, particularly in France, between professional hosts and private individuals offering short-term accommodation services and people looking for such accommodation.

  • In addition, Airbnb Ireland offers those hosts ancillary services, such as a format for setting out the content of their offer, civil liability insurance, a tool for estimating their rental price or payment services for the provision of those services.

  • AHTOP (...) maintained that (the) company did not merely connect two parties through its platform of the same name; it also acted as an estate agent without holding a professional licence, in breach of the act known as the ‘Hoguet Law’ which applies to the activities of real estate professionals in France.

  • For its part, Airbnb claimed that, on any view, Directive 2000/31 precluded that legislation."

  • See also: