Responsible hosting in Germany
We’ve put together this article to help Hosts on Airbnb become familiar with hosting responsibilities, and to provide a general overview of different laws, regulations, and best practices that may affect Hosts. You’re required to follow our guidelines, like our Hosting Standards, and to make sure that you follow the laws and other rules that apply to your specific circumstances and locale.
We recommend that you do your own research, as this article isn’t comprehensive, and doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice. Also, as we don’t update this article in real time, please check each source and make sure that the information provided hasn’t recently changed.
Table of contents
We care about the safety of Hosts and their guests. You can improve your guests’ peace of mind by providing a few simple preparations like emergency instructions and noting any potential hazards.
Health and cleanliness
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be necessary to follow specific local regulations on cleaning, disinfection, and hygiene when listing your property in Germany.
Please ensure that you follow the specific COVID-19 hygiene and safety orders of your federal state for your accommodation as they might define additional requirements. We have put together some helpful links to find rules that apply in each federal state, available in German and English.
Some of the following rules may apply to you when hosting in Germany:
- A minimum distance between Hosts and guests is likely to be required during check-in.
- Hosts may also need to document their cleaning activities and present a hygiene concept to their guests.
- Hosts may need to document contact details of all guests and request a written confirmation of health from guests upon arrival.
- Hosts may need to limit bookings to a certain percentage of room capacity.
Please be aware that these are only examples and it is important to consult specific local regulations to learn which cleaning and hygiene procedures are requested in your individual case.
Further recommendations on cleaning
- Recommendations on cleaning and disinfection of surfaces outside healthcare facilities in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic from the Robert Koch-Institut
- Resources of non-pharmaceutical countermeasures in relation to COVID-19 from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
- Information on danger signs for chemicals and cleaning agents from the German Consumer Protection Institute
- Information and advice about the Coronavirus from the Federal Ministry for Health, available in German and English
Emergency contact information
Include a contact list with the following phone numbers:
- Local emergency numbers
- The number for the nearest hospital
- Your contact number
- A number for a backup contact (in case guests can’t reach you)
It’s also a good idea to make sure guests know the best way to contact you in case of an emergency. You can also communicate with guests using messages on Airbnb as a safe alternative.
Keep a first aid kit and tell your guests where it is. Check it regularly so you can restock supplies if they run out.
If you have gas appliances, follow any applicable gas safety regulations and make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Provide a fire extinguisher and remember to maintain it regularly.
Ensure you have a clearly marked fire escape route. Post a map of the route so it’s easy for guests to see.
Here are some ways you can help prevent potential hazards:
- Inspect your home to identify any areas where guests might trip or fall
- Remove the hazards you identify or mark them clearly
- Fix any exposed wires
- Make sure your stairs are safe and have railings
- Remove or lock up any objects that may be dangerous to your guests
Some guests travel with young family members and need to understand if your home is right for them. You can use the Additional notes section of Listing details in your Airbnb account to indicate potential hazards or indicate that your home isn’t suitable for children and infants.
Working appliances, like furnaces and air conditioners, can greatly affect your guests’ comfort during their stay. There are lots of ways you can make sure your guests stay comfortable:
- Make sure your home is properly ventilated
- Provide instructions on how to safely use the heater and air conditioning
- Check that the thermostat is working correctly and make sure that guests know where to find it
- Service the appliances regularly
Tax is a complex topic. Your own tax obligations can vary based on your particular circumstances, so we recommend that you research your obligations or consult a tax professional to get more specific information.
In general, the money you earn as a Host on Airbnb is considered taxable income that may be subject to different taxes like rental tax, income tax, or VAT.
Tax forms for Germany are due by 31 July each tax year. Check with the Federal Central Tax Office (you can visit the English site or the German site) to find out if you need to declare the amount you earn from hosting, which you can find in your host earnings summary. It’s also a good idea to find out if you’re eligible for other credits like tax reliefs and allowances.
Free tax guide
We want to make it easy for you to understand your tax responsibilities as a Host on Airbnb, so we’ve partnered with with an independent third-party accounting firm to provide a free tax guide (available in German/English) that covers general tax information in Germany.
Together with PwC, Airbnb organized a lecture about taxes in Berlin. Watch the full recording of the event, with lots of useful information on all aspects of taxation here (in German).
Germany has a national law that requires Hosts who provide short-term (3 months or less) accommodation to collect and retain information about any guest who stays with them.
There are two ways to collect the data:
- Buy reporting certificates (available online)
- Create reporting certificates yourself
If you decide to retain guest data in your own guest register, you will need to comply with all applicable data protection laws, including the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Here are some ways you can respect your guests’ data from third-party access:
- Only process data you need for German reporting obligations
- Delete guest data after 3 years
You can find out more about your obligations under the applicable data protection laws for GDPR from data protection authorities, specialist attorneys, hosting associations, and more.
Regulations and permissions
It’s important to make sure you’re allowed to host on your property. Some examples of restrictions include contracts, laws, and community rules. Check with a lawyer or local authority to learn more about regulations, restrictions, and obligations specific to your circumstances.
You can use the general info in this article as a starting point around hosting regulations and permissions.
Contractual agreements and permits
Sometimes leases, contracts, building regulations, and community rules have restrictions against subletting or hosting. Review any contracts you’ve signed or contact your landlord, community council, or other authority.
You might be able to add an addendum to your lease or contract that can provide clarity about concerns, responsibilities, and liabilities for all parties.
If your property has a mortgage (or any form of loan), check with the lender to make sure that there aren’t restrictions against subletting or hosting.
Subsidized housing restrictions
Subsidized housing usually has rules that prohibit subletting without permission. Check with your housing authority or housing association if you live in a subsidized housing community and are interested in becoming a Host.
If you share your home with others, consider making a formal agreement with your housemates in order to outline expectations. Housemate agreements can include how often you plan to host, guest etiquette, whether you'll share revenue, and more.
EU consumer protection law
According to EU consumer protection law, when you commercially offer goods or services online, you’re required to provide your customers with specific information. When you host through Airbnb, it’s considered a service. We have information and tools to help you decide whether you should identify as a hospitality expert and understand your responsibility to protect consumers in the EU.
We’ll take appropriate action if anyone notifies us of potential misuse. We have guidelines to help local authorities report housing misuse.
Part of being a responsible Host is helping your guests understand best practices for interacting with your community. When you communicate local rules and customs with your guests, you’re helping to create a great experience for everyone.
If your building has common spaces or shared amenities, let guests know the rules for those places.
You can include your house rules on the Additional notes section of Listing details in your Airbnb account. Guests usually appreciate it when you share your expectations with them upfront.
It’s usually a good idea to let your neighbors know if you’re planning to host. This gives them the chance to let you know if they have any concerns or considerations.
Guests book through Airbnb for lots of reasons, including vacations and celebrations. Let your guests know how noise impacts neighbors early on for a smoother experience.
If you’re concerned about disturbances to your community, there are different ways you can help limit excessive noise:
- Implement a quiet hours policy
- Don’t allow pets
- Indicate that your listing isn’t suitable for children or infants
- Prohibit parties and additional unregistered guests
Communicate any parking rules for your building and neighborhood to your guests. Examples of possible parking rules:
- Only park in an assigned space
- Don’t park on the west side of the street on Tuesdays and Thursdays due to street cleaning
- Street parking is only available from 7pm–7am
First, check your lease or building rules to make sure there isn’t a restriction on pets. If you allow guests to bring pets, they’ll appreciate knowing good places to exercise their pet or where they should dispose of waste. Share a backup plan, like the number of a nearby pet kennel, in case a guest's pet upsets the neighbors.
Always respect your guests' privacy. Our rules on surveillance devices clearly state what we expect from our Hosts, but some locations have additional laws and regulations that you’ll need to be aware of.
If you don't allow smoking, we suggest posting signs to remind guests. If you do allow smoking, be sure to provide ashtrays in designated areas.
Work with your insurance agent or carrier to determine what kind of obligations, limits, and coverage are required for your specific circumstances.
Host damage protection and Host liability insurance
AirCover includes Host damage protection and Host liability insurance, which provide you with basic coverage for listed damages and liabilities. However, these don’t take the place of homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance, or adequate liability coverage. You might need to meet other insurance requirements as well.
We strongly encourage all Hosts to review and understand the terms of their insurance policy coverage. Not all insurance plans will cover damage or loss of property caused by a guest who books your accommodation.
Learn more about AirCover.
Liability and basic coverage
Review your homeowner's or renter's policy with your insurance agent or carrier to make sure your listing has adequate liability coverage and property protection.
Other hosting information
Check out our hosting FAQs to learn more about hosting on Airbnb.
Please note that Airbnb has no control over the conduct of Hosts and disclaims all liability. Failure of Hosts to satisfy their responsibilities may result in suspension of activity or removal from the Airbnb website. Airbnb isn’t responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).