This article provides specific information about local laws that apply to people who host their homes in Cologne. 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 Cologne Housing Office directly or consult a local advisor, such as an attorney or tax professional, if you have questions.
Short-term rental regulations
Cologne has regulations for short-term accommodation rentals that came into effect in 2014 and were prolonged in 2021 for the last time, following the new housing framework under the state-wide so-called Wohnraumstärkungsgesetz NRW. The regulations apply to all freely-financed rental and cooperative dwellings designated as residential before or after the effective date of these regulations.
According to the regulations, any space within city limits which is objectively suitable and subjectively intended for residential purposes is defined as a residential space.
However, spaces that have been used without interruption for other than residential purposes, both before and after the rules were adopted, are not subject to these regulations.
In general, you need to obtain a permit from the City of Cologne if you want to rent more than 50% of the total living space of any residential space on a short-term basis for more than 90 days per calendar year. There are exemptions, for example for students, who can rent residential space on a short-term basis up to 180 days per calendar year. A permit isn’t required according to the local regulations of Cologne, if you want to rent out less than 50 % of the total size of your residence.
From 1 July 2022 on, you will have to register your listing with the city authorities and display a registration number (“Wohnraum-Identitätsnummer”) online if you want to rent out on a short-term basis. This rule applies irrespective of the amount of days per calendar year that you intend to rent out your residential space on a short-term basis
Since December 1, 2014, the City of Cologne has been collecting a tax for the promotion and advancement of culture. Check Cologne’s administration site for more information about the culture tax.