Monday 06 July 2020

Airbnb pledges to take measures to reduce illegal letting and noise nuisance

Map showing Airbnb locations in central Amsterdam

Airbnb claims it will remove Dutch adverts without a registration number after a new holiday rentals law comes into force in the Netherlands.

The housing brokerage platform, which plans to float this year, has written to the Dutch housing minister – in English – pledging to ‘share more data to [sic] cities on the impact of home sharing’ and introduce ‘new tools to combat noise and nuisance’.

Co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk says that after a six-month ‘educational period’ the platform will remove hosts who do not display a registration number. However, the business tells the NRC that it currently has no plans to check that any numbers submitted by house renters are valid.

The announcement comes shortly after the Dutch highest court ruled that no houses in the Netherlands can be rented to tourists without a license, under existing housing law.

A bit late

In Amsterdam – where high levels of nuisance from more than 20,000 such ‘host’ locations mean the city is planning to ban Airbnb-style letting in certain districts – head of housing Laurens Ivens told the NRC that this apparent change in attitude was ‘a bit late, but a good thing.’

From January this year, when Amsterdam had imposed a new limit of 30 days of holiday rental per property per year, Airbnb had refused to remove rentals exceeding this period and said privacy regulations meant it could not share rental data with the city.

In its turn, Amsterdam earlier this week approved the use of experimental algorithms to track down people illegally renting out their homes and make more effective use of its enforcement manpower.

Noise detectors

Earlier this year, Airbnb surveyed 3,000 of its hosts on their perceptions of its business and tourism-related nuisance. As a result, it said in its new letter, it will also introduce a ‘24/7 neighbour rapid response hotline’ for residents to report nuisance as well as a three-month noise detector pilot programme ‘to help hosts detect and deal with noise nuisance problems’.

It adds that it has collected and handed over more than €34 million in tourist tax to Amsterdam since 2015 and is in talks with The Hague, Haarlem, Rotterdam and Utrecht ‘on this matter’.

The new Dutch housing law is expected to go through the lower house before the summer.

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