Airbnb limits private rentals to curb illegal hotel listings, permanent rentals

2016-12-02 11:36
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The Hague — Airbnb will start enforcing limits to private home rentals in two popular European cities on the home-sharing platform, London and Amsterdam, the company said Thursday, 1 December. 

The move comes amid complaints from some cities that the booming house sharing sector can lead to illegal hotels and contribute to housing shortages.

In London, Airbnb said it will "introduce new and automated limits to help ensure entire home listings in London are not shared for more than 90 days," unless hosts prove they have permission to share their space for longer. The new measures will be in place by spring 2017.

The Dutch capital and the online rental service said that they will work together to ensure that home owners can only rent out their properties for a maximum of 60 days per year.

Amsterdam had introduced its limit earlier, but Airbnb said that from 1 January 2017 its site will introduce automated tools to ensure homes aren't listed for more than 60 days a year unless the owners have a license.

"A home should remain a home," Amsterdam alderman Laurens Ivens said in a statement. 

"With this new approach we are showing that working together with platforms such as Airbnb gives the city a new and efficient weapon to tackle illegal hotels," he added.

Airbnb's General Manager for Northern Europe, James McClure, said, "We want to be good partners for everyone in the city and ensure home sharing grows responsibly and sustainably."

Airbnb says a typical host in Amsterdam earns ‎€3 800 (around R57 000) by sharing their space for 28 nights a year. In London, a typical Airbnb host earns £3 500 (around R62 000) by sharing their space for 50 nights a year.

SA's Cape Town has also benefitted greatly from Airbnb rentals. Local data from May this year show that hosts earn an average of R28 000 a year from occasionally sharing space in their home, with guests admitting to staying longer due to the unique offering. 

SEE: Airbnb helping Capetonians open up more - Wesgro

Since the company launched in 2008, when the co-founders invited travellers to sleep on an air mattress in their San Francisco loft, Airbnb has grown to be one of the world's most valuable private startups by collecting fees when private hosts rent out accommodations listed on the site.

But it also has run into problems with city fathers and local residents concerned by the rapid rise in rentals.

Last week, Barcelona authorities said they would fine Airbnb and another rental site, HomeAway, more than R9 million each for offering lodging that doesn't have the necessary permits.

ALSO READ: NYC cracks down on illegal Airbnb rentals

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau told Catalunya Radio that while tourism was an asset for the Spanish city, it had grown too much and was denying locals access to housing.

While cracking down on opportunistic hotels and B&Bs, Airbnb remains true to its brand of enlisting home owners and locals. The new Airbnb app lets you embrace the unexpected by adding experiences and local spots to your trip while you’re on the go.

SEE: WATCH: Cape Town listed in new Airbnb Trips offering that moves beyond accommodation

Travellers are able book restaurants, experiences and offers insider guides as it becomes more of an online travel agent than just an accommodation listing site.

ALSO SEE: 4 Easy steps to becoming an experience host on Airbnb Trips

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