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 2019. 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 in order to use a residential space for any other purpose unless you fall under an exemption.
A property is exempt from the usual rules if it’s been used as a second home or vacation home by its designated residents, even with interruptions.
When you use more than 50% of a residential place’s floor space for a non-residential purpose, such as commercial or professional purposes, it’s considered a zoning violation.
Since December 1, 2014, the City of Cologne is collecting a tax for the promotion and advancement of culture. Check Cologne’s administration site for more information about the culture tax.