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Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb risk eviction

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb risk eviction

An Amsterdam tenant has been evicted - and fined 2.500 euros - by a private landlord for sub-letting to tourists via Airbnb.

Whilst home owners are free to offer tourists short-term leases via the holiday rental app, providing they abide by the council’s new rules, it is increasingly risky for tenants.

Evicted for renting on Airbnb

The tenant in question is a 30 year-old female freelancer, who rented a room in her central Amsterdam apartment to tourists for 75 euros per night. Though this tenant - who wishes to remain anonymous - knew that sub-letting via Airbnb was forbidden, she expected that it would be tolerated by her landlord and neighbours.

However, angry neighbours contacted the tenant’s landlord - a housing association - via Twitter, after the tourists repeatedly made too much noise. The tenant in question was subsequently summoned to her landlord's office and served a notice of eviction, alongside a 2.500 euro fine.

The evicted tenant has argued that, though the income from her Airbnb rental covered around half of her monthly rent, she invited tourists into her home for the experience - not for the money. She argues that Airbnb is a fun way to get to know new people, and share the city with them. If permitted, she will continue to be active on Airbnb in her new - yet to be found - home.

Airbnb in Amsterdam

The holiday accomodation app lists Amsterdam as its sixth most popular location. A Volkskrant investigation revealed that there are over 7.000 Amsterdam properties listed on Airbnb, accounting for the majority of the 11.000 properties nationwide listed on the holiday rental app. The number of overnight Airbnb stays in the Netherlands has increased by a sharp 177 per cent in the past year.

Amongst the 7.000 Amsterdam properties on Airbnb, many are believed to be privately rented apartments, which are effectively being illegally sub-let.

Some housing agencies and landlords have resorted to hiring online detectives to ascertain whether their properties are appearing on the website. In general, however, landlords are being notified of Airbnb sub-lets via noise level complaints from neighbours.

Airbnb threatening hotels

Airbnb - which began in the Netherlands in 2012 - may not just be a problem for private landlords.

According to a report by KPMG, hotel occupancy rates and room prices have fallen due to the increasing popularity of Airbnb, and similar holiday rental apps like Wimdu. With 40 per cent of Dutch hotels claiming they face competition from private rentals.

The report states that three star hotels - charging around 65 euros a night - are facing fierce competition from Airbnb.

Even five star hotels are allegedly being threatened, with the manager of Amsterdam’s exclusive Dylan hotel attributing poor occupancy over July and August to Airbnb’s popularity, reports NOS.

Airbnb released a statement denying any evidence of their success encroaching on the hotel industry.

New Airbnb rules for Amsterdam

Though Amsterdam’s council considered banning Airbnb leases in the city, following in the tentative footsteps of New York City and Quebec, it recently concluded that short-term rentals were in fact beneficial for the city’s economy, and boost tourism.

According to the council, Airbnb rentals are taking place in only one per cent of the city’s homes, and make up less than two per cent of overnight stays.

The city has, however, created a new set of rules for property owners renting on Airbnb and similar apps.

People living in social or rent controlled housing are forbidden from sub-letting to tourists. Other tenants, those renting privately, must ask their landlord’s permission - or risk the same fate as this evictee.

Sources: Volkskrant, NOS,  NU.nl

Zoe

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Zoe Neilson

Zoe Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Amsterdam. She is from Edinburgh, but has also lived in Strasbourg, London, Sydney and Leeds, and has now been based...

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