Tuesday 20 August 2019

Amsterdam wants Airbnb to get tough on illegal rentals

Amsterdam’s housing alderman Laurence Ivens has accused online holiday rentals company Airbnb of not doing enough to combat illegal letting and has threatened not to renew an agreement the city has had with the platform since 2013.

Some 20,000 homes were on offer on the rental site this year, a rise of 500 on 2017, despite council efforts to bring holiday rentals under control. The city’s agreement with Airbnb on stamping out illegal rentals expires at the end of this year, and Ivens says the American company must do more.

Research by local broadcaster AT5 showed that it is still easy for people living in rent-controlled properties to put their homes up for hire by tourists, even though this is illegal.

Nor does Airbnb stop people from renting out their homes for three times the permitted 60 days a year by posting their ad multiple times, the documentary claims.

The only way officials can check if the law is being broken is to send out inspectors, Ivens said. This is time-consuming and not effective because it needs to be repeated day in, day out, Ivens said. He is now going to increase the number of inspectors to 80.

Amsterdam home owners can rent out their property through holiday rental platforms for no more than 60 days a year and to no more than four people at one time. Landlords also have to register each let with the city council.

Next January the maximum period for rentals will be cut to 30 days and officials are also looking at bringing in total bans in the busiest parts of the city.

Fines

People caught breaking the rules can be fined €6,000 for a first offence, mounting to €20,000 for repeated illegal rentals. City officials handed out 148 fines in the first six months of this year and closed 61 apartments which were being rented out illegally to too many people.

Laurens told AT5 that he is happy to sit with Airbnb to work out a new deal. ‘I am happy to meet them and see if we can come up with a tighter deal, and it is up to them if they want to serve the city,’ he said.

‘But I am not going to continue like this,’ Ivens told the broadcaster. Amsterdam signed its first pioneering agreement on limiting rentals with Airbnb in 2014.

DutchNews.nl has approached Airbnb for comment.

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