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This article provides specific information about local laws that apply to people who host their homes in Hamburg. Just like our country article for Germany, it’s your responsibility to verify and comply with any obligations that apply to you as a host. This article can serve as a starting point or place you can come back to if you have questions but it isn’t exhaustive and it doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice. It’s a good idea to check to make sure laws and procedures are current.
Some of the laws that might affect you are complicated. Contact the City of Hamburg directly or consult a local advisor, such as an attorney or tax professional, if you have questions.
Short-term rental regulations
The City of Hamburg requires that you register with the city and display one of the following on your listing: a housing protection number (“Wohnraumschutznummer”), a permit, or business details if your listing is exempt. This is based on the Hamburg Housing Protection Act, as of January 1, 2019, with a grace period for hosts in Hamburg to comply by March 31, 2019. Read through the following to understand what’s required for your listing.
Housing protection number
According to the Hamburg Housing Protection Act, hosts are generally required to have a housing protection number in order to offer a short-term rental to guests. The housing protection number is free of charge, and you can complete the entire process in less than 10 minutes online.
According to the Hamburg Housing Protection Act you’re eligible for a housing protection number if:
- Your listing is your primary residence and you host a private or shared room.
- Your listing is your primary residence, and you host your entire home up to 8 weeks per year. If you think you’ll host for more than 8 weeks, we recommend starting the process with the housing protection number–this will cover your listing for the first 8 weeks. After you’re covered under the housing protection number, you can start the longer process of applying for a permit.
- Your listing is a residential space and you’re only planning to host long-term stays.
- Your listing is a non-residential space, but you’re not running a business and do not have any business details listed in your settings.
You only need one housing protection number for your primary residence, regardless of how many rooms you rent, but you still need to include the number on each individual listing.
You can apply for a number through the Hamburg Service Portal and visit Hamburg’s website for more information about the application process.
If your application was rejected, it may be because:
- You tried to register a space that isn’t your primary residence’s address (such as a secondary listing). Only primary residences are eligible for a housing protection number.
- You said you're hosting a private room or shared space in your primary residence, but the size of the space is more than 50% of the entire home.
- You’re hosting an entire home that’s your primary residence and you said you plan to host for more than 56 days this year.
Note: You can host your entire primary residence for 0-56 days with a housing protection number. If you choose to host more, you can apply for a permit.
If you didn’t register your listing before April 1, 2019, your listing has been deactivated, so it won’t show up in search results and therefore can't be booked. However, any bookings made before April 1, 2019, will not be cancelled.
Check Hamburg’s housing protection number FAQ page for more info.
Short-term rental permit
If your listing is a secondary residence or other residential space, or you plan to host your primary residence entire home for more than 8 weeks per year, you’ll need to apply for a permit. The permit process can take up to 6 weeks, and cannot be completed online–you can apply at your respective district office.
Your listing is exempt if you host a non-residential space–including licensed B&Bs, serviced apartments, and hotels–and have added business details in your settings.
Occupancy reporting requirement
The law states that any host who provides a short-term rental to guests needs to notify the city of the duration of any guest’s stay within 10 days, unless they have an exemption. The City of Hamburg is planning an online process for such notifications, which will be live on April 1, 2019.
Updating your listing page
Once you receive a housing protection number, permit, or reason for exemption, make sure to add it to your listing to legally complete the process.
Overnight accommodation tax
The City of Hamburg charges a Cultural and Tourism tax on paid overnight accommodations within city limits.
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