Amsterdam, other EU cities, urge Brussels to act on holiday rentals


Amsterdam is among 12 European cities which have written to the European Commission asking for a meeting to discuss ways to improve and update legislation covering holiday rentals.

The letter was drawn up following a meeting in Amsterdam in January, at which cities discussed the problems they face in controlling the surge in online platforms such as Airbnb.

Several European cities, including Amsterdam, have brought in rules to control the growth in tourist rentals and protect their own housing markets. However, EU privacy legislation is going to make it more difficult to take action against people who break the rules, the cities say.

In particular, the new EU law on data protection (GDPR) will limit the cities’ ability to force booking platforms to share rental information. But this data, the cities argue, is essential to successfully target and prosecute people who break local rental laws.

In addition, booking websites argue they cannot be held responsible for the listings because advertising is free. However, in several US cities, including San Francisco and New Orleans, booking sites have agreed to remove unregistered apartments, the cities point out.

The European cities, including Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Madrid and Vienna, have asked for a meeting with the internal markets and consumer affairs commissioners in Brussels to discuss the issues.

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