European authorities push back against Uber and Airbnb


Rulings in France and Germany have installed fresh legal roadblocks to stop the spread of Uber and Airbnb.

A judge in France has issued a €800,000 fine to Uber after it ruled that its UberPop service is "illegal."

It has also hit two executives with fines worth a combined €50,000.

UberPop allows casual vetted drivers to use the app to offer people lifts for money - without being a licensed taxi driver and often at lower costs than traditional taxi prices.

This service has been causing controversy across Europe and provoked aggressive protests in France last summer.

These fines are 'suspended' - the company and executives are only required to pay half of the fines if they do not re-offend or break any other rules.

A court in Frankfurt has also upheld a ban on the UberPop service - a recent EU directive on dealing with disruptive companies such as Uber and Airbnb said that bans should be used as a "measure of last resort" - but they can be used when additional licences and regulations are "strictly necessary to meet relevant public interest objections."

In the UK and Ireland Uber has only worked with licenced taxi drivers. It hopes to launch a modified version of the 'Pop' service in Ireland - an internal Department of Transport document has recommended that it should not be allowed in Ireland.

Irish laws currently require anyone offering transport in a car for money to hold a taxi licence. The limited Uber service which is offered in Ireland uses registered taxi drivers.

Berlin rentals

Courts in Berlin have also upheld new laws which could stop people renting properties on Airbnb, the popular room/housing sharing app.

The new rule means that anyone who rents more than 50% of their apartment out for a short term rental could face a fine of €100,000.

Individual rooms can still be let - but whole apartments are no longer allowed.

City authorities have set up a special website for citizens to tip off authorities if their neighbours are breaking the rules.

Joseph Conroy,

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