Airbnb and Gemeente Amsterdam strike a deal
Amsterdam is a popular tourist destination, and so it’s no surprise that the online rental platform, Airbnb, has gone down well here. Its popularity has meant that rental prices have shot up, in addition to complaints from neighbours about Airbnb renters becoming quite a nuisance.
The scale of the issue
In 2015, the tax office believed they were missing out on millions due to the popularity of Airbnb and thus began an investigation to find out how many people were failing to report their earning on their annual tax return.
A dispute thus began because Airbnb refused to release information about their clients to the government. As a compromise, they agreed to implement a tourist tax which they would hand over to the city council. According to the Financieel Dagblad, this figure was estimated at 4 million euros per year.
Still, a high volume of complaints followed, particularly about people subletting their rooms and apartments to make a profit. Some even managed to rent their properties out the entire year round given the popularity of finding affordable accomodation in Amsterdam.
For this year, the city council began serious talks with Airbnb, and alas, they have finally found a solution.
A 60 night policy
Whilst Airbnb has been quite active already in shutting down illegal hotels that were using their platform as a way to draw in clients, Amsterdam city council has urgend them to put in place stricter policies for residents renting out rooms, or entire flats.
As of January 1 through to December 31, 2017, Airbnb has agreed to restrict rentals to 60 days per year. This rule already existed before but most people renting took little notice of it. For this reason, a new feature will be added to the profiles of Amsterdam rentals so that once those 60 days are up, the rental’s status on Airbnb changes to "fully booked".
Airbnb will also retain the right to tell the city hall about any rentals that do not abide by this rule, i.e. those that upload pictures of the same accommodation using another profile, risking a fine of up to 50 thousand euros.
Once their 60 days is up, there is nothing stopping people from using other similar platforms to advertise their spare room, for example, Booking.com, HomeAway, and Wimdu.
It is worth noting though that if residents are renting less than 40 percent of their home space, they are eligible to apply for a Bed & Breakfast permit through the government. If they possess this, then they are also able to advertise on Airbnb all year round without the 60 day limit.
Amsterdam city hall hotline
In an effort to prioritise complaints that are made about Airbnb rentals, the city is also launching a hotline in January, 2017, which they hope will enable them to crack down on antisocial behaviour of Airbnb rentals, as well as illegal subletting.
Rules in other cities
Compared with other cities, the deal Amsterdam has made with Airbnb is considered the first of its kind. In other tourist populated cities such as Berlin and New York, a massive portion of these cities' Airbnb listings are banned.
In Barcelona, the government fined the company 600 thousand euros based on the ruling that stated Airbnb was illegally renting apartments.
Alternatives to Airbnb
With the new policy in place, there may be less rentals available on Airbnb throughout the year. Find out about short-stay rentals here.
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