Thursday 09 April 2020

The Hague won’t licence holiday lets, Airbnb is effectively banned

The Hague’s city hall. Photo: Ellywa via Wikimedia Commons

The Hague city council is effectively banning all locals from renting out their property or a room via agencies such as Airbnb, according to local broadcaster Omroep West.

The ban follows the council’s decision not to bring in a licencing system for holiday rentals, following a controversial court ruling earlier this year.

In that ruling, the Council of State said that it is illegal to rent out property to tourists without a permit because landlords are effectively removing a home from the national housing stock.

The ruling, which was unexpected, provided a boost to people campaigning against holiday rental platforms. In formal terms, the ruling means everyone who rents out property to tourists without a permit is breaking the law.

However, no local authorities have actually set up a licencing system to rent to tourists and The Hague has decided not to do so. There are currently over 300 properties in The Hague on Airbnb.

‘In practice we are not going to issue large fines, but we will intervene,’ housing alderman Martijn Balster said. The focus will be on people who still try and rent out their property, Balster said.

The ban will probably last until the end of this year, by which time the government will have finalised national legislation to cover holiday rentals.

Those national rules will allow local authorities to require holiday lets to be included on a register in areas where housing is in short supply.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam has said it will carry on fining people running holiday lets for more than 30 nights a year or for more than four people at a time – in line with the city’s own rules.

According to city figures, one in 15 Amsterdam homes has been let to tourists and  around 25,000 are used for this purpose each month. It is also the most expensive in Europe in terms of prices with an average rent of €253 per night in the city centre.

Amsterdam city officials have also been given the green light to experiment with using algorithms to track down people illegally renting out their homes.

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