CJEU Advocate General qualifies AIRBNB as Information Society Service

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

Following a complaint by the French Association pour un hébergement et un tourisme professionnel, the Prosecutor’s Office, on 16 March 2017filed an indictment for infringement of the law regulating the conditions for the exercise of activities related to certain transactions concerningreal propertyand financial goodwill(Hoguet Law), in particular, the activities of real estate agents. AIRBNB Ireland denied acting as a real estate agent and argued that the Hoguet Law was inapplicable on the ground that it was incompatible with the Directive on Certain Legal Aspects of Information Society Services.

In his opinion published on Arpil 30, 2019, Advocate General Szpunar stated that it was necessary to consider the nature of the service provided by AIRBNB Ireland, namely whether it was a service provided at a distance, without the parties being simultaneously present, and whether it was entirely provided by the use of electronic equipment and had no relation to services having a material content even though they were provided by electronic means. After examining AIRBNB Ireland’s service, the Advocate General proposes that the answer to the first question should be that a service consisting in connecting potential guests with hosts offering short-term accommodation, via an electronic portal, in a situation in which the provider of that service does not exercise control over the essential procedures for the provision of those services, constitutes an information society service.

Source: CJEU press releasse No. 51/19 of April 30, 2019

Case details: C-390/18  - Eoin Michael Hession and AIRBNB Ireland UC v Hôtelière Turenne SAS and Association pour un hébergement et un tourisme professionnel (AHTOP) and Valhotel