City councillors in Amsterdam have decided to reduce by half the number of nights Airbnb hosts can rent out their apartments in the city — imposing a cap of 30 nights per year, down from the current 60 nights per years (via DutchNews.nl). The new limit will go into force in 2019.
It’s just the latest squeeze on the short term rental platform in Europe. (Though, to be clear, the Amsterdam cap applies to use of any home sharing platform by residents, not just Airbnb.)
Paris — Airbnb’s biggest market in the region — now requires hosts on platforms to register their apartments with the city so it can better track compliance. The French capital also caps the number of nights hosts can list their apartment, though at a rather more generous 120 per year.
Meanwhile Barcelona, another popular European tourist destination, has been cracking down on illegal tourist rentals for some years, applying a series of measures intended to limit the growth of tourist rental platforms such as Airbnb.
And in Germany, Berlin city officials have used a change to housing law to effectively block anyone from renting out an entire apartment to tourists on Airbnb without a permit — also stating it intends to further reform housing law to protect local housing stock.
Though Airbnb welcomed a draft version of a new housing law in Berlin in December for recognizing home sharing, and expressed confidence that the city will end up letting residents rent out their apartment for 60 nights per year without the need for a permit.
Amsterdam cooling on Airbnb is significant as the company had previously trumpeted a 2016 agreement with the city council — which the pair said at the time was aimed at promoting “responsible home sharing” and tackling “illegal hotels” — with agreed measures including Airbnb applying automated limits on hosts to cap listings to 60 nights per year.
Airbnb also said it would promote a new neighbor tool that enables anyone in the city to share concerns they have about a listing — such as noise complaints.
It also committed to continue to share aggregated information with the city council on the impacts of home sharing, and to publish data about its enforcement actions yearly.
Evidently the package of measures has failed to assuage local concerns about anti-social behavior related to short term tourist rentals, nor provide adequate reassurance regarding longer term impacts of platforms like Airbnb on local communities.
“I recognize that reducing the length of time is not the solution to city congestion but it will reduce the problems caused by tourists in some areas and will make it less inviting to use your home as a way to earn money,” Amsterdam housing alderman Laurens Ivens is quoted as saying about the decision to slash the cap to 30 nights.
Responding to the move in a statement, Bo de Koning, Airbnb’s public policy manager for the Netherlands and Scandinavia, expressed disappointment and claimed that the typical Amsterdam landlord on Airbnb earns less than €4,000 per year, sharing their home for an average of less than 3 days per month.
She also said that half of the Airbnb landlords in the city are self-employed; one in four is under 30 and more than 40 per cent use the income to stay in their home.
In 2015 and 2016, Airbnb collected more than €11M in tourist tax for the city, she added.
“The Airbnb community — consisting of 19,000 Amsterdam landlords — is disappointed in your intention to have large hotels prevail over Amsterdam families who occasionally share their homes and punish them for the shortcomings of other platforms to promote responsible holiday rentals,” she said. “Airbnb has been a proactive and supportive partner of Amsterdam since 2014.”