French tourism association AHTOP (Association for professional tourism and accommodation) previously lodged a complaint against Airbnb. It argued that the online homestay booking service needs to hold a professional estate agent licence in France since it didn’t just connect two parties through its platform but also acted as a real estate agent. Airbnb was thus accused of being in breach of the act known as the ‘Hoguet Law,’ which applies real-estate professionals activities in France.
However, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that Airbnb is an online platform that must be classified as an ‘information society service’ under EU Directive 2000/31 on electronic commerce. This means that the company doesn’t need to hold an estate agent’s professional licence. The court also presented Uber’s example, which the CJEU deemed to be a transportation service and not just an intermediary platform. For Airbnb, the court notes the differences saying that the online intermediation service may be classed otherwise if the intermediation service forms an integral part of an overall service whose main component is a service coming under another legal classification.