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Updated by Teknologirådet on Jun 14, 2017
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Regulating the sharing economy

The sharing economy has grown rapidly in recent years, often challenging existing traditional business models and regulatory frameworks.

The Norwegian Board of Technology has compiled this list to show how different countries, regions and cities have reacted to the sharing economy. The list will be updated and expanded continuously.
Entries are tagged, to make it easier to sort the content on different countries and services, and whether the service is legal or not. This list is a follow up of the work we did together with EPTA on the report "The future of labour in the digital era".

You can sort the list using filters such as illegal vs. legal, type of service and country.

Suggestions and/or corrections can be sent to post@teknologiradet.no

1

Accommodation Copenhagen

Jan 11, 2017
Accommodation Copenhagen

Status
Both hosted and un-hosted home-sharing is legal in Copenhagen, but authorities have signaled stricter enforcement of short-term rental laws.

Regulation

  • The residence requirement (bopælspligten) restricts short-term rentals in the city to max. 7 weeks per year
  • There are no restrictions to Airbnb specifically, but this is currently under consideration (per Jan. 2017). The Mayor has expressed that an arrangement such as Amsterdam’s may be suitable for Copenhagen, to avoid misuse and illegal hotels

Tax

  • Short-term rentals are tax-free up to a certain amount per year depending on different factors
  • E.g. if owning, rental incomes up to 1,33% of the property value is tax-free (min. 24,000 DKK)
  • E.g. if renting, sub-letting incomes up to 2/3 of the yearly rent is tax-free
  • Rental incomes exceeding these limits are taxable and must be stated on tax returns
  • Airbnb has praised Denmark for embracing home-sharing with clear and progressive tax rules
  • A political majority proposed introducing an automatic reporting system, requiring e.g. Airbnb to disclose the incomes of hosts directly to the tax authorities, to avoid tax evasion (per Jan. 2016)
  • The proposal was initially rejected by the Tax Minister (per July 2016), saying they can't neccessarily require a foreign company to report to the Danish tax authority

Controversy

  • An analysis from Copenhagen Municipality concludes that since 96 % of the city's Airbnb hosts rent out their own residence, it will not affect rental or housing prices. The analysis states that Airbnb may pose a challenge for the hotel industry, although hotel overnight stays are generally on the increase in Copenhagen. The mayor questioned theses conclusions, calling for more insights on who is using Airbnb and if commercial actors abuse the system
  • An analysis by Inside Airbnb reported that over 2,500 flats (16%) were rented out illegally (>7 weeks)
2

Ride-sharing Denmark

Jan 11, 2017
Ride-sharing Denmark

Status
Uber have announced that they are closing down their services in Denmark due to new taxi legislation.

Regulation

  • Transportation of passengers for payment requires a professional license and a taxi services approved car under current legislation
  • In Feb. 2017, a parliament majority agreed on new taxi legislation, lifting restrictions on the number of taxi licences in circulation, but requiring all taxis to have a taximeter and seat sensors for tax purposes. Uber remains illegal in its current form. To be legal, drivers must install a taximeter and seat sensors in their cars and complete two-weeks training, and Uber would need to set up a transport office registering all rides
  • On 28 March 2017, Uber announced that they are closing down their services in Denmark as a direct consequence of the proposed new taxi legislation
  • The Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs are working towards a joint strategy for the sharing economy, expected to be presented in 2017

Legal process

  • In Nov. 2014, only days after their Copenhagen launch, Uber was reported to the police by the Public Transport Authority (Trafikstyrelsen) arguing the company violated passenger transport laws
  • In Nov. 2016, the Eastern High Court (Østre Landsret) ruled that Uber is an illegal service, upholding a previous decision by the Copenhagen City Court (byretten). The courts have ruled that UberPop, due to its profit motive, is not a ride-share as the company claims, but an illegal pirate taxi service
  • The ruling applied only to one Uber driver, but was expected to affect similar pending cases, as more than 50 Uber drivers were at the time (per Dec. 2016) awaiting trial in city court. The driver in question received a fine of 6,000 DKK for driving passengers for payment without a commercial license, and in a car not approved for taxi services
  • Following the court’s decision, the Copenhagen Public Prosecutor's Office (Anklagemyndigheden) announced it was filing a case against the company (per Dec. 2016)

Tax

  • In Jan. 2016, a political majority proposed introducing an automatic reporting system, requiring Uber to disclose drivers’ incomes directly to the tax authorities. Uber supported the proposal for such a reporting system
  • Danish tax authorities are launching a project to map the challenges of the sharing economy, and are reportedly awaiting the results before moving forward (per Jan. 2016)

Controversy

3

Accommodation Berlin

Jan 11, 2017
Accommodation Berlin

Status
Hosted home-sharing (spare room) is legal in Berlin. Un-hosted home-sharing (entire home) is illegal without a city permit.

Regulation

  • On May 1 2016, the Prohibition of Misuse of Residential Space Act (Zweckentfremdungsverbot-Gesetz, ZwVbG) took effect, banning all unregistered short-term rentals of entire homes
  • The law applies to those who rent out >50% of their property short-term (<2 months) without a permit
  • Popular districts, such as Mitte, have announced that they will reject 95% of permit requests
  • The law is meant to target landlords renting out entire units on a short-term and year-round basis
  • Berliners can still rent out a spare room in their home if they are on-site during the guests' stay, but not the entire home, e.g. when on vacation
  • There are regular inspections of properties to ensure that the law is correctly implemented
  • The authorities encourage city residents to anonymously report suspected misuse online
  • Offenders risk fines of up to €100,000

Legal process

  • There have been lodged several legal complaints against the ban
  • Four property managers complained against the ban, saying it was unconstitutional as it curbed their professional freedom. The complaint was rejected, as the judge found it to be in line with constitutional and basic rights
  • Wimdu filed a similar lawsuit, arguing the law was a violation of constitutionally guaranteed principles
  • There is still some uncertainty as to the constitutionality of the law, and it has not yet been reviewed by the Berlin Constitutional Court

Controversy

  • Housing shortage and rising rents has made commercialized home-sharing a highly-politicised issue in Berlin
  • City authorities consider the law necessary to deal with trends of renting apartments to tourists short-term, cutting into a limited housing supply and driving up rents
  • Airbnb reportedly halved its Berlin listings in anticipation of the new law
  • Wimdu argues that the law applies to only 4000 apartments, or 2% of the 200 000 homes shortage, and that it doesn't address the real issue
  • The ban has been criticised by some hosts for serving the interests of the hotel industry rather than the people of Berlin
4

Accommodation London

Jan 11, 2017
Accommodation London

Status
Both hosted and un-hosted home-sharing is legal in London, the latter up to 90 days per year.

Regulation

  • With the Deregulation Act of 2015, short-term rentals of entire homes are allowed up to 90 days per calendar year in London, given the host is liable to pay council tax
  • The 90-day cap is to ensure that properties are not misused for permanent short-term rental
  • Airbnb made a deal with the city in Dec. 2016, making it responsible to ensure that hosts comply with the limit
  • From 2017, Airbnb will automatically limit entire home listings in London to 90 nights a year, unless the hosts confirm that they have permission to share their space more frequently

Legal process

  • Prior to the Act, Londoners wanting to legally rent out their homes short-term had to apply for a planning permission, a requirement which did not apply anywhere else in the UK

Tax

Controversy

  • The Deregulation Act ends outdated rules which are “poorly and confusingly enforced across London”, says a government press release
  • The reforms are intended to benefit London tourism industry by expanding the pool of competitively priced accommodation and allow locals to earn extra cash when out of town, says another press release
  • A 2016 report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (pdf) reported that 4,938 of Airbnb’s "entire home" London listings (23%) were rented out for more than 90 days per year
5

Accommodation Amsterdam

Jan 13, 2017
Accommodation Amsterdam

Status
Home-sharing is legal in Amsterdam with certain restrictions, and the city has recently made a new agreement with Airbnb, unique in Europe.

Regulation

  • In Feb. 2014, the Amsterdam City Council approved new policy for home-sharing, creating a new category of accommodation called “private rental”, making it easier for locals to share their home
  • Short-term rentals are allowed up to 60 nights per year as long as the number of guests does not exceed 4 people per reservation
  • In Dec. 2016, Airbnb signed a deal with the city, agreeing to automatically remove listings rented out for 60 days, to install a day-counter for hosts, and to install a neighbor tool and a 24/7 hotline where residents can report nuisance and noise complaints, among other measures. The agreement takes effect Jan. 2017 and expires Dec. 2018
  • The new agreement follows a similar deal between Airbnb and the city from Dec. 2014, extended in Dec. 2015

Tax

Controversy

  • The new deal is a joint effort by Airbnb and the city to tackle misuse, such as properties rented out illegally as hotels
  • Critics of the Airbnb deal point out that there is nothing stopping hosts from renting out spaces illegally on similar websites
  • The city has promised similar agreements with other sites to ensure a level playing field
6

Accommodation Paris

Jan 13, 2017
Accommodation Paris

Status
Un-hosted home-sharing is legal for up to 120 days per year in Paris without a city approval.

Regulation

  • Paris rules allow owners to rent out, and some renters to sublet, their primary residence for up to 120 days per year without needing authorization
  • Renting out >120 days per year, or an apartment the host doesn’t live in, requires an approval from the city
  • Getting such an approval generally requires putting another apartment back on the long-term rental market in the same district, due to a so-called "rule of compensation"
  • Violators risk fines up to €28,500
  • The council has released a map of approved tourist rentals in the city to help identify illegal rentals

Legal process

  • In Dec. 2015, officials found roughly 100 tourist apartments that were being rented out illegally during a sweep of 2,000 apartments in Marais
  • In April 2016, Airbnb and City Hall launched a joint four-month pilot project, where Airbnb sends reminders to follow Paris home-sharing rules to hosts who appear to operate illegally. Airbnb won’t disclose the names of the hosts that receive the warnings to Paris authorities

Tax

  • Since Oct. 2015, Airbnb has collected a tourist tax of €0.83 per night on behalf of the city
  • This resulted in €1.2m in tax revenue to the city in the last quarter of 2015

Controversy

  • Paris is Airbnb’s most popular city with over 60,000 listings
  • An investigation by the Guardian in 2016 reportedly found that 41% of Paris listings were rented out illegally, either for >120 days or by a host with multiple listings
  • Paris officials have stated that many of the tens of thousands of tourist apartments in the city are operating illegally, and that they are looking to develop a system to stop such activities
  • The hotel industry has voiced concern over distorted competition, while some Parisians have complained that their buildings are being turned into hotels
7

Accommodation Reykjavik

Jan 14, 2017
Accommodation Reykjavik

Status
Icelanders can legally rent out their homes through Airbnb for up to 90 days per year under new law.

Regulation

  • A new law passed 31 May 2016 allows hosts to rent out their property for up to 90 days per year, with gross income up to 1 million ISK (ca. 70 000 NOK), without a state-issued operation license
  • Prospective hosts must register their property with the county seat each year
  • The property must be an established residential property, and fulfill all health and safety requirements as such
  • Offenses may be fined and the county seat may opt to de-register the property’s permit to operate as an Airbnb
  • Rentals exeeding the 90-day or 1 mill. ISK limit requires a state-issued license and is subject to business tax

Legal process

  • The law follows a ruling in April 2016, requiring those living in residential buildings to get unanimous approval by all residents before putting their unit up on home-sharing sites

Controversy

8

Accommodation New York

Jan 14, 2017
Accommodation New York

Status
Short-term rentals are lege, but have been strictly regulated in New York since 2010, further enforced by a 2016 bill.

Regulation

  • In Oct. 2016, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that would impose heavy fines on Airbnb hosts breaking state housing regulations for short-term rentals (see bill here)
  • The bill further enforces a state law passed in 2010, which bans short-term rental (<30 days) of entire units in multiunit NYC buildings
  • Hosts advertising an illegal rental may be fined up to $7,500
  • Renting out a spare room or unit in one’s home (hosted home-sharing) remains legal if the host is present
  • Renting out one’s home when on vacation is not allowed under law
  • Airbnb agreed to limit all hosts in NYC to one listing each starting Nov. 1 2016

Legal process

  • Although short-term rental of most apartments in NYC has been illegal since 2010, it had not been heavily enforced until the 2016 bill
  • Airbnb sued the state hours after passing the bill, claiming the law was unconstitutional, but settled the lawsuit in Dec. 2016
  • In many US cities, Airbnb has argued that fines imposed upon them violate the company’s constitutional rights and the protection it is afforded under the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that says websites cannot be held accountable for content published by its users. This is why hosts, and not the company, are being held responsible under law

Controversy

  • In 2014, the NYC State Attorney General reported (pdf) that commercial operators with three or more units accepted 37% of all Airbnb host revenues in the city, and that 72% of all listings appeared to violate the law
  • Airbnb say they have made huge improvements in removing illegal listings
  • Those in favor of the law claim Airbnb has caused a shortage of affordable housing for permanent residents with its $1 billion NYC market
  • As the law is meant to curb full-time commercial hosts, some, including Airbnb, have called for a distinction in law between New Yorkers wanting to earn some extra cash when out of town and commercial operators
9

Accommodation Chicago

Jan 14, 2017
Accommodation Chicago

Status
Legal, but new ordinance has been passed in Chicago to protect residents and neighborhoods from excessive home-sharing.

Regulation

  • In June 2016, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance (pdf) requiring hosts to register their units with the city, taking a 4% surcharge on short-term rentals
  • The ordinance is meant to protect consumers, neighborhoods and quality of life, says the City Council press release
  • The ordinance requires companies, such as Airbnb, to establish 24/7 hotlines for residents, and lets some neighborhoods petition to have unwanted listings banned
  • There are also restrictions as to how many units per building can be used for short-term rental activity
  • Violators may be fined $1,500 to $3,000 per offense, egregious conditions, criminal activity or public nuisance $2,500 to $5,00 per offense

Tax

Controversy

  • The home-sharing trend is controversial in Chicago, accused of taking over neighborhoods “by turning condos into hotels for partying out-of-towners”
  • Airbnb has been accused of doing too little to protect residents from the proliferation of their business
  • Airbnb led a well-funded lobbying campaign against the ordinance
  • Hosts have complained that the law blocks renting activities necessary for them to pay their bills
10

Accommodation Philadelphia

Jan 14, 2017
Accommodation Philadelphia

Status
Legal, but Philadelphia has passed a string of new regulations in favor of home-sharing activities, but also taxes them.

Regulation

Tax

11

Accommodation Santa Monica

Jan 14, 2017
Accommodation Santa Monica

Status
Legal, but with the city’s Home Sharing Ordinance taking effect in 2015, Santa Monica has some of the most restrictive laws on home-sharing in the US to date.

Regulation

  • Santa Monica’s Home Sharing Ordinance took effect on 12 June 2015, legalizing “home-sharing” while banning “vacation rentals”
  • Only home-sharing is allowed in Santa Monica, here meaning that the host must live on-site during the guests’ stay
  • Home-sharing requires a business license from the city and compliance with health and safety laws
  • There is no limit as to how many days per year one can operate a home-share
  • All short-term rentals (<30 days) of entire homes are prohibited
  • Violators risk fines of up to $500 per day, or criminal prosecution if they do not cease operations

Tax

Controversy

  • The city stated that it was necessary to intervene, as landlords were turning entire apartment buildings into hotels, limiting the housing supply and driving up rents
  • The city estimated the ordinance would shut down 80% of Santa Monica listings on Airbnb
  • Almost 200 Santa Monica residents staged a protest against the ordinance, arguing that Airbnb enables regular people to pay the rent in an expensive city
12

Accommodation Stockholm

Jan 14, 2017
Accommodation Stockholm

Status
Short-term rentals are legal in Stockholm, but requires permission from the housing cooperative or landlord.

Regulation

  • In July 2014, Swedish law was amended to make it easier to sublet primary residences (bostadsrättslägenheter), although not as a response to Airbnb-type rentals
  • Prior to July 2014, owners (bostadsrättshavaren) needed "notable grounds" (beaktansvärda skäl) to let their apartments, but "grounds" are now sufficient (skäl)
  • Renting out one’s home requires permission from the landlord or housing cooperative (bostadsrättsforening), alternatively authorization from the rent tribunal (Hyresnämnden)
  • Permission must be granted if the owner has grounds over a certain span of time, and the housing cooperative has no legitimate reasons to refuse
  • Violators may risk eviction

Legal process

  • In 2015, a case went to the Stockholm rent tribunal after a housing cooperative refused a resident to rent out her flat through Airbnb. The tribunal decided that the cooperative had legitimate reasons to refuse, as it resembled commercial hotel business and could be disruptive to other residents. This was the tribunal’s first trial of the sort

Controversy

  • Despite the tribunal’s ruling, Swedish Airbnb listings have spurred from 8000 in 2015 to 13 000 in 2016, a 69% increase. About half of the listing are in Stockholm
13

Accommodation San Francisco

Jan 16, 2017
Accommodation San Francisco

Status
San Franciscans can legally rent out their entire home short-term for up to 90 days per year.

Regulation

  • A bill was passed in 2014, legalizing short-term rentals in the city with certain restrictions
  • The law came into effect in Feb. 2015, allowing San Franciscans to rent out their primary residence short-term (<30 days) for up to 90 days per year
  • Spare rooms can be rented out year-round given the host also lives there during the guests’ stay
  • Hosts can rent out only one unit and must be permanent residents of the unit
  • Would-be hosts must register in-person by appointment with the city - registration is valid for two years and includes a $250 registration fee
  • Hosts are required to obtain a business registration certificate and submit a number of documents in person, as well as deliver quarterly reports of all stays in their unit
  • The city has created a new department, Office of Short Term Rental Administration and Enforcement, to handle host registrations and investigate violators
  • In June 2016, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a law requiring companies to police their websites and remove unregistered hosts, or else face fines of up to $1,000 per day per listing
  • In Nov. 2016, Airbnb agreed to provide the city with lists of addresses, hosts and stays booked through their platform and to introduce a 90-day cap on entire home listings, among other measures

Legal process

Tax

Controversy

14

Accommodation Brussels

Jan 16, 2017
Accommodation Brussels

Status
Legal, but there are several requirements for all home-sharing for profit in the Brussels-Capital Region.

Regulation

  • An ordinance applying to all tourist accommodation for profit took effect in Brussels in April 2016
  • Short-term rental activity requires permission from the co-owners of the building
  • Different rules apply depending on the accommodation category, e.g. “homestay accommodation” (spare room) or “tourist residence” (entire home)
  • All hosts must declare and register their property with Brussels Economy and Employment to receive a registration number, which must be clearly displayed in listings and the establishment
  • All hosts must comply with certain rules regarding insurance, safety, maintenance and hygiene, and must submit a number of forms
  • If renting out a spare room (homestay), it must be available to welcome guests min. 4 months per year and the host must provide breakfast, among other requirements
  • If renting out an entire home (tourist residence), it can welcome guests for max. 4 months per year and must have a reception, among other requirements
  • Registered properties are inspected by officials to check if they comply with all legal requirements, and offenders may be fined (€250 - €25,000) and their registration numbers suspended or withdrawn
  • Providing free accommodation, e.g. couch surfing, is not covered by the ordinance

Tax

Controversy

  • The ordinance is meant to guarantee better safety, fairer competition, better consumer information, and counteract the housing crisis for residents in the region, writes Brussels Economy and Employment
  • Airbnb have argued that the new rules present too much red tape for most Brussels hosts (in Dutch), as the average host rents out a home for three weeks when on vacation
  • Airbnb's Nicolas Ferrary criticized the rules (translated from Dutch): “You have to submit 15 forms. You need permission from the co-owners of the building, who meet once a year. You also strangely enough have to provide five closet hangers. It is all absurdly complex"
15

Accommodation Oslo

Jan 16, 2017
Accommodation Oslo

Status
Both hosted and un-hosted home-sharing is legal in Oslo.

Regulation

  • Rules for short-term rentals are partly determined by the type of ownership of the home, e.g. housing cooperatives (borettslag) or condominiums (sameie).
  • If part of a housing cooperative (borettslag), you are free to let out a spare room, couch or bedsit (hybel). If renting out the entire unit requires permission from the cooperative's board under law may be a question of interpretation. Per the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation’s interpretation of the cooperative housing law (borettslagsloven), the owner is free to rent out the entire space without permission from the board, e.g. when on vacation, but not as an extensive commercial operation
  • If part of a condominium (sameie), there are no restrictions unless specified. If the extent of short-term renting is a disturbance to other residents, however, it may be banned
  • The Home Owners' Association has asked the Ministry to revise the rules and make them clearer
  • In Feb. 2017, a government appointed committee presented their proposals for regulating the sharing economy (NOU 2017:4 Delingsøkonomien - muligheter og utfordringer). The committee found current rules for short-term renting sufficient, where the extent of short-term renting is largely based upon the unit owners of the building coming to agreement

Tax

  • Renting out <half of one’s home (calculated by rental value), e.g. a spare room, is tax-free
  • Renting out >half of one’s home is tax-free up to 20 000 NOK per year. Exceeding this, all income from renting out the unit is subject to tax
  • Renting out a holiday home occasionally in use by the owner (e.g. a cabin) is tax-free up to 10 000 NOK per unit per year. Exceeding this, all rental income of the unit is subject to tax
  • All income from renting out property not in use by the owner is fully taxable
  • Among the proposals from the government appointed committee (NOU 2017:4) is to require companies to disclose relevant information to tax authorities

Controversy

16

Ride-sharing Germany

Jan 17, 2017
Ride-sharing Germany

Status
Uber’s UberPop service is illegal across Germany as it violates commercial passenger transport laws.

Regulation

Legal process

  • The Frankfurt court had issued a temporary injunction banning UberPop in 2014, then granted the service a temporary reprieve as the issue was given a wider airing by the court
  • The court ruled that UberPop violates German laws of commercial passenger transport, as drivers do not have the proper licences to charge passengers for rides
  • The case was brought before court by German taxi operator group Taxi Deutschland, accusing Uber of representing unfair competition in bypassing licence laws, taxation and safety and insurance regulations
  • Uber’s legal representatives denied it was subject to the laws governing taxi services, arguing they merely act as an online marketplace connecting clients with drivers

Controversy

17

Ride-sharing Netherlands

Jan 17, 2017
Ride-sharing Netherlands

Status
Uber’s UberPop service is illegal in the Netherlands.

Regulation

  • Commercial transport of passengers requires a diploma and professional license in the Netherlands
  • Although the taximeter requirement for taxis has been repealed (given that the price has been agreed upon in advance), uberPOP is declared illegal in the Netherlands

Legal process

  • As Uber launched in Amsterdam in July 2014, the transport ministry inspector service announced that Uber is breaking the law the moment it allows UberPop to be used
  • In Oct. 2014, four Uber drivers were arrested and fined after ministry inspectors had posed as passengers, actions Uber protested against
  • In Dec. 2014, the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal in The Hague upheld a ban on UberPop, ruling that drivers transporting passengers for payment without proper license are breaking the law
  • The court ruled that drivers could be fined €10,000 per violation, Uber €100,000 per violation
  • Uber responded that the decision was based on outdated laws, that they would appeal against it, and that they would continue to offer the service
  • In March 2015, the city council announced that 12 UberPop drivers had been detained for illegally transporting passengers that year
  • Uber’s Amsterdam offices were raided in May 2015 due to suspected non-compliance with the UberPop ban
  • On 20 Nov. 2015, Uber decided to discontinue UberPop in the Netherlands, stating that the service had clearly “become a block to regulatory progress”

Controversy

18

Ride-sharing Spain

Jan 17, 2017
Ride-sharing Spain

Status
Uber’s UberPop service is illegal in Spain.

Legal process

Controversy

19

Ride-sharing Estonia

Jan 20, 2017
Ride-sharing Estonia

Status
A bill regarding regulation is at the moment pending in the parliament.

Regulation

  • In Feb. 2016, a bill regulating Uber-like services as "on-demand ride sourcing" (or “negotiated passenger transport”), not as a taxi service but as a sub-category of public transport, reached Estonia’s Parliament
  • "On-demand ride sourcing" is the carriage of passengers for a fee in cars with up to nine seats
  • It does not enjoy the benefits granted public transport (such as bus lanes) or taxi service (such as taxi ranks), and all orders must be placed and paid for solely through an electronic system (an app)
  • The service provider, driver and license plate of the vehicle must be clearly recognizable in the app, so that the consumer can make an informed choice, and the fare calculation method must be displayed when the order is made to avoid surprise additional fees
  • The bill also simplifies the requirements for taxi services, e.g. the scope of taxi driver training will be reduced and the state fee for issuing professional certificates removed
  • On 12 Dec. 2016, the Economic Affairs Committee sent the bill to the factions of the parliament for examination, and expects their feedback and proposals by 23 Jan. 2017
  • The bill is expected to be finalized in spring 2017, and the new regulations implemented in 2018

Tax

  • In Oct. 2015, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB) announced a partnership with Uber to develop a new e-tax system that simplifies tax declaration for Uber drivers
  • The system has been in place since Feb. 2016, allowing drivers to opt-in to a system where Uber sends drivers’ income data to the tax office and is automatically added to their tax return

Controversy

  • On cooperating with Uber, the ETBC announced it is willing to “offer a convenient public service that takes into account the possibilities and needs of new business solutions”
  • Uber stated that “Estonia stands out with its progressive digital economy and Estonian tax officials have taken initiative in Europe”
  • Estonia is a world leading country in digital modernization with 95% of government services online
  • "Estonia could become one of the first EU countries - perhaps even the pioneer country - to regulate ride-sharing. We aim to keep our legal environment such that it will enable the people to benefit as much as possible from the new economy - that's why it is necessary to respond quickly and regulate ride-sharing in Estonia," said member of the Economic Affairs Committee Kalle Palling
  • The Estonian Taxi Drivers’ Union has claimed Uber is pirate taxi service and insisted that the company's business in Estonia was unlawful in its current form and should be stopped
  • Many ride-share apps operate in the country, among the most popular is Estonian app Taxify
20

Ride-sharing Brussels

Jan 20, 2017
Ride-sharing Brussels

Status
Uber's uberPOP service is illegal in Brussels.

Regulation

  • In 2014, Uber's ride-share service uberPOP was banned in Brussels
  • The company risks fines of €10,000 any time a car is operating under uberPOP
  • In 2015, Brussels' Mobility Minister announced that the government had approved a new taxi plan, and that they would work toward establishing a legal framework for all types of paid transport, to "ban unfair competition and social dumping". The framework would allow e.g. Uber to operate if they comply with a number of concerns in terms of safety, accountability, transparency, social justice and tax. One proposal is that persons can offer transportation with their own car if the service provider obtains authorization from the region, another is that driving for Uber can only be a spare-time activity, never full-time employment, to avoid precarious working conditions, among other proposals

Legal process

Controversy

21

Ride-sharing London

Jan 20, 2017
Ride-sharing London

Status
Uber is legally allowed to operate in London.

Regulation

  • Traditional black cabs have the sole user rights of taximeters in London, in return for extensive training to learn London's streets ('The Knowledge'), but Uber’s app is not categorized as a taximeter
  • Transportation for London (TfL) issued Uber a minicab (private hire) license in 2012

Legal process

Controversy

22

Ride-sharing France

Jan 20, 2017
Ride-sharing France

Status
Uber’s UberPop service is illegal in France.

Regulation

Legal process

Controversy

23

Ride-sharing Norway

Jan 20, 2017
Ride-sharing Norway

Status
According to the Norwegian Police, uberPOP is illegal. Uber disagrees, and the legal issue is yet to be settled.

Regulation

  • The Professional Transportation Act (yrkestransportloven) states that commercial passenger transport, directed toward the public and in a public space, requires a licence (løyve) and that all taxi drivers must be affiliated to a taxi central
  • The Ministry of Transport declared Uber to be illegal just days after their 2014 Oslo launch, and has recently presented its proposals for changing the Act (per Dec. 2016). One proposal is removing the requirement of affiliation to a taxi central, so that licensed drivers can legally drive for Uber. Another is new rules for carpooling, allowed only if driver and passengers are headed to the same destination, with strict limitations on remuneration to avoid misuse. The Ministry has not signalled any intention to remove the licence requirement
  • In Feb. 2017, a government appointed committee presented their proposals for regulating the sharing economy (NOU 2017:4 Delingsøkonomien - muligheter og utfordringer), one of the proposals being to remove the taxi licence (drosjeløyve) requirement

Legal process

  • In Dec. 2015, an Uber driver was acquitted in Oslo District Court, as the court weighted two points in the Act: that the provision of transportation is directed towards the public and in a public space. As Uber trips are offered through an app, and not e.g. a taxi rank, it is not affected by law, the court concluded. The prosecutors appealed, weighing another point in law: that drivers must have a licence (løyve)
  • In July 2016, three Haxi drivers were acquitted by the Supreme Court, ruling that occasional passenger transport was not enough to be affected by law, as each case concerned a single trip, and that the ride had not been offered in a public space, but through an app. The prosecutor claimed the court had a wrongful interpretation of the law
  • In Oct. 2016, an Uber driver was convicted by Drammen District Court for violating the Act with his 1145 Uber rides, and another shortly after in Borgarting Appeal Court for 441 Uber rides. Both were fined 8,000 NOK, had their driver's licences revoked, and 34,000 NOK and 43,000 NOK of their Uber earnings confiscated
  • In Jan. 2017, an Uber driver was convicted in Oslo District Court for illegal pirate taxi operations. His driver’s license was revoked for 1 year, his Uber earnings of 285,854 NOK confiscated, and he was issued an 8,000 NOK fine
  • The Norwegian police stated that recent court decisions clarify that Uber is illegal in Norway, and have recently begun revoking driver's licences and fining Uber drivers extensively in Oslo
  • In Feb. 2017, EFTAs Surveillance Authority (ESA) sent a reasoned opinion to the Norwegian government, finding the restrictions on the taxi services market to affect consumers and in breach of EEA rules

Tax

  • Uber drivers are required to declare their income, but Uber does not disclose this information to the tax authorities
  • A control undertaken by the tax authorities showed that 90% of the investigated Uber drivers with a turnover above 50 000 NOK in 2015 and 2016 had failed to report their incomes
  • The tax authorities are in dialogue with Uber on taxation of drivers’ incomes
  • Uber have called for clearer tax rules and have been positive towards a requirement to report their drivers' incomes

Controversy

24

Ride-sharing Iceland

Jan 20, 2017
Ride-sharing Iceland

Status
Uber is not yet operating in Iceland, neither are other ride-share services.

Legal process

25

Ride-sharing Sweden

Jan 23, 2017
Ride-sharing Sweden

Status
Uber's uberPOP service has been ruled illegal in Swedish courts, as driving passengers for profit requires a taxi permit.

Regulation

  • Commercial passenger transport requires a taxi license in Sweden
  • In 2015, the Swedish government initiated an inquiry to investigate if taximeters should be mandatory in taxis, without dispensation, if a new category of professional passenger transport should be established, and to review current carpooling rules
  • In Nov. 2016, the Swedish Government’s Taxi Inquiry was presented (SOU 2016:86 Taxi och samåkning – i dag, i morgon och i övermorgon), concluding that the distinctions between taxi services and carpooling should remain strict. It defines carpooling as persons travelling together by car and sharing the costs, and that driving for profit cannot be categorized as carpooling. A taxi permit from the Transport Agency should be required for anyone offering taxi services in any form, the inquiry concludes, effectively upholding the ban on uberPOP
  • The inquiry proposes that all ordinary taxis must have a taximeter, and that cash payment should be prohibited. The taximeter requirement can be circumvented if a special equipment for tax and driving purposes is installed. The car must be connected to a dispatch central that collects, stores and discloses relevant information to the tax authorities, the customer must order and pay through a central, and fixed rates must apply, proposes the inquiry

Legal process

Controversy

  • As in many other countries, Uber’s launch spurred debates on whether its services were covered by current legislation and should be considered a taxi service or not, says a recent EPTA report (pdf)
  • The Swedish Transport Agency and the Swedish Taxi Association both claimed that UberPOP should be categorised as a taxi service, making it illegal, according to the report
  • After suspending uberPOP, the company said it had "encountered some resistance" and that Sweden “needs a modern and clearer regulatory framework for the emerging sharing economy”
  • The Swedish Taxi Association welcomed the proposals from the taxi inquiry, whilst Uber said they were expecting something more in tune with the times, warning that Sweden risks falling behind
  • Uber currently offers services such as UberX and UberBlack in selected Swedish cities (per Uber website 23 Jan. 2017)