ECJ Opinion on Airbnb

On 30 April the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) issued an opinion on a case about Airbnb Ireland referred to the ECJ by the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris (Regional Court, Paris), for a preliminary ruling on the freedom of Airbnb to provide services in France.
The case was brought by the “Association pour un hébergement et un tourisme professionnel” (and others) claiming infringement by Airbnb of the law in France regulating the activities of estate agents (Hoguet Law). The questions raised are whether or not Airbnb benefits from the freedom to provide services (as an information society service) laid down in the Directive on Electronic Commerce, and secondly whether the rules in the Hoguet Law apply to its activities.

The Advocate General argues that Airbnb is an information society service (and not a real estate company), and so benefits from freedom to provide digital services under the Directive. In order for a requirement laid down by a Member State other than that in which the provider of the information is established to be enforceable against that service provider, that requirement must satisfy the conditions in the Directive on a case-by-case basis. A Member State which proposes to adopt measures restricting the free movement of information society services originating in another Member State (such as Airbnb) must first notify the Commission of its intention and ask the Member State of origin to take measures in respect of information society services. There is no indication that these conditions were fulfilled, and according to the Advocate General failure to notify makes such measures unenforceable against the provider of those services. The full judgment of the ECJ will be given later this year, but in most cases the court follows the opinion of the Advocate General although it is not binding. Further information will be made available to CEPI members, in the meantime the opinion is available at