Saturday 26 September 2020

Minister announces plans to tackle holiday letting website ‘excesses’

Local councils and holiday rental websites have agreed to work together on a registration system to advertise housing to tourists, and it will be up and running within a year, home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren told MPs on Tuesday evening.

Councils such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, and platforms including Airbnb and Booking.com have agreed to work on developing a system which involve giving every property a unique registration number, the minister said.

The registration number will be included in the advert and will allow local authorities to see exactly where properties are being rented out without requiring the rental websites to give information to the authorities, Ollongren said.

‘It is important, and that is why the meetings of the past few months have been so valuable, that everyone sees substance in this and that the big platforms, including Airbnb, work together on the registration procedure and a well-functioning system,’ Ollongren said.

Amsterdam in particular has been campaigning for more powers to stop people breaking the local rules on holiday housing rentals, and has accused Airbnb of failing to cooperate fully.

Tax

The minister said she also planned to look into ways of making sure landlords declared their earnings to the tax office – which may be possible via the registration system.

During Tuesday’s debate on holiday rental websites, the VVD and SP handed in a joint motion which would make fraud with housing an economic crime. This would enable the authorities to take action against websites like Airbnb and Booking.com for facilitating crime, the MPs sai.

Ollongren told the MPs that she would look into the legal implications of the proposal. MPs will be able to vote on the issue next week.

Airbnb said in a website statement that it believes a simple and online system will make it easier for hosts to follow the rules and will ‘allow cities to get more insights on their home sharing communities and help with enforcement while respecting national and European privacy rules’.

 

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