Amsterdam cracks down on house swaps for the holidays


Amsterdammers who want to swap homes with another family for the holidays via websites such as HomeExchange will have to register with the city authorities and pay a fee before they can do so, under council regulations.

Officials have reached a deal with HomeExchange, the global market leader, about registration from October. Registration is free, but homeowners will have to pay an annual fee to the city of €48.10.

Tourists coming to the city to stay in someone else’s home free of charge will also have to pay tourist tax. And no more than four people will be allowed per property, ruling out large families.

Homeowners who break the rules face a fine of up to €8,700.

A spokesman for city housing chief Zita Pels told the Parool that house swaps have fallen under the same regulations as holiday rentals since 2014 but that the deal with HomeExchange has just been finalised.

“HomeExchange works with a point system which makes it clear that there is a transaction in line with a financial transaction,” the spokesman said. “Renting a house is paid for by renting out your own.”

Users of the platform have already raised legal doubts about the city’s claims, the paper said. Last year, the Council of State also ruled that Amsterdam could not ban holiday rentals in the city centre as planned.

According to the Parool, HomeExchange registered 85,533 house swaps in the Netherlands in July and August. Of them, over 34,600 were in Amsterdam.

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