Does the Uber ruling affect online platforms for the sale and/or rental of real estate in Spain?

The recent Preliminary Ruling of 20th December 2017 from the EUCJ (European Union Court of Justice) raises the question of whether the solution of the European court can be applied to other online platforms that intervene in different markets, specifically in the real estate market for the sale and rental of real estate from private to private individual.

First of all, it is important to note that the recent European ruling is just a preliminary ruling that has merely declaratory effects and it is the consulting court that must execute it.

The key element of this recent European Judgment is that UBER is “absolutely linked to a transport service”, and therefore it must receive such treatment. In other words, it is not only a platform that puts drivers in contact with users, but also creates an alternative offer to existing transport systems, specifically the taxi system.

For this reason, the Court of Justice concludes that it must be regulated in accordance with the European Transport Law, and in the absence of European common regulations, in accordance with national legislation which needs to be in full compliance with European Union regulations.

In regards to online real estate platforms, if the platform creates an alternative offer in the market, we cannot understand that it is under the aforementioned Directive regulation and therefore, we must analyze the European and national regulations on real estate brokerage services.

From there arises again the need, signaled repeatedly by agents of real estate property in Spain, to regulate the sector of real estate brokerage to provide transparency and legal security to users and avoid abuses such as those of the past real estate bubble.

 

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