Making sure locals do not lose out because of the rise of holiday rental websites like Airbnb requires national agreements and a new deal with Airbnb itself, Amsterdam’s housing alderman Laurens Ivens has told the Telegraaf.
‘Give us more leeway to control things,’ he said. ‘This needs to be a national, rather than an Amsterdam rule.’
Some 22,000 properties in the Netherlands are now advertised via the website, a rise of 33% in a year, the paper says.
Critics of Airbnb say that unregulated short-term rentals eat into the city’s available stock of private housing and cause noise complaints and safety risks for other residents. Previous research by DutchNews found that many Airbnb hosts in Amsterdam are breaking the city’s short-term rental rules regarding occupancy and rental duration.
These rules were laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the city and Airbnb signed in 2014. In the memorandum the city agreed that Airbnb could freely operate, as long as the company paid tourist taxes and hosts only rented out their own dwellings for a maximum of 60 nights per year.
The memorandum, which was up for review in March, has been extended until the end of 2016. Officials from Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht have investigated the possibility of signing similar agreements with Airbnb, as the company continues to grow across the country.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam has been sharing its approach to holiday rentals with other cities. Officials have had enquiries from Tel Aviv, Barcelona, New York, Toronto, Vienna, Seoul, Tokyo, Brussels, Copenhagen, Aruba, Berlin, Milan, Istanbul, San Francisco, Boston and Athens this year, the NRC said last week.
In these countries, local authorities have responded to the growth of Airbnb in different ways. In Berlin this month, the city council banned the letting of apartments through Airbnb without a permit.
Hosts who break this law face a €100,000 fine. As a result, Airbnb listings in the city fell by 40% since the start of May.
In Barcelona, short-term holiday rentals are illegal. The city wants to regulate Airbnb there, provided the company removes all illegal listings from the site. Airbnb has been criticised there for refusing to share data with local authorities.
According to the Telegraaf, Ivens wants Airbnb to share more information about its landlords, so that the council can stamp out illegal practices. Sources have told the paper that new negotiations on extending the agreement are proceeding with difficulty.
To investigate illegal rentals, the council has been forced to come up with its own methods, including a €1million data-scraping programme, and an anonymous tip hotline which locals can use to report illegal rentals.
The council is also furious about a recent report from ING which said the popularity of Airbnb could drive up city house prices because buyers can borrow more money to fund an Airbnb property.
Ivens is planning to write to all mortgage providers pointing out that holiday rentals are subject to strict conditions and that landlords and other home owners in a block must also agree.
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