Rental limits for Airbnb's London, Amsterdam hosts

Airbnb is facing increasing pressure from the city authorities, who are concerned the lodging- by-web platform is increasing the cost of living for residents. Mr James McClure, Airbnb general manager for Northern Europe, says the company wants to ens
Airbnb is facing increasing pressure from the city authorities, who are concerned the lodging- by-web platform is increasing the cost of living for residents. Mr James McClure, Airbnb general manager for Northern Europe, says the company wants to ensure home-sharing grows responsibly and sustainably.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

London hosts can rent their homes out for up to 90 days a year without a licence; in Amsterdam, it's 60 days a year

SAN FRANCISCO • Airbnb has set an automatic limit to the number of nights hosts can rent out their homes in London and Amsterdam, at a time when the platform faces increasing pressure from cities and governments.

Hosts will now need a licence to rent their homes for more than 90 days a year in London, and for more than 60 days a year in Amsterdam, said Airbnb on Thursday.

The new rules strengthen guidelines set up last year. Airbnb will automatically limit home listings on its platform from next year, reported Bloomberg.

"We have been in discussion with London Boroughs to understand their concerns about enforcing existing legislation and this move by Airbnb is a very positive and sensible step forward," Mr James Murray, deputy London mayor for housing and residential development, said on Thursday.

A recently published study found that 23 per cent of Airbnb rental homes in the British capital were booked for more than 90 nights per year, reported The Guardian.

This amounted to 4,938 of its "entire home" London listings, said the Airbnb-commissioned study by a British think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research.

In Amsterdam, Airbnb will also promote a new tool for neighbours to share concerns about a home listing, including noise complaints. 

"We want to be good partners for everyone (in Amsterdam) and ensure home-sharing grows responsibly and sustainably," said Mr James McClure, Airbnb general manager for Northern Europe.

The Dutch capital, famous for its canals, welcomes more than 17 million visitors every year, leaving many jostling for space on the roads and pushing up the price of accommodation.

The San Francisco-based company, which recently raised US$555 million (S$790 million) at a US$30 billion valuation, has faced increasing pressure from city authorities, who are concerned the lodging-by-Web platform is increasing the cost of living for residents.

Last week, the Barcelona city hall said it would fine Airbnb and its rival HomeAway €600,000 (S$911,000) for marketing lodgings that lacked proper tourist permits, reported Agence France-Presse.

In June, Bloomberg reported that mayors and representatives for cities including New York, Paris and Seoul had started a first concerted effort to produce a common framework for so-called "sharing economy" apps to operate within.

"Having the 20 or 30 biggest urban markets of the world all operating under entirely different rules doesn't do much good for anyone," Mr Wiley Norvell, communications adviser for Housing and Economic Development for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in June.

In Singapore, rentals shorter than six months are not allowed for private and public homes, but offers are still often made on home-sharing websites like Airbnb.

An Airbnb spokesman told The Straits Times in October that the company is working with the Singapore Government towards a regulatory framework for responsible home-sharing.

Early last year, the Urban Redevelopment Authority held a public consultation to gather feedback on short-term rentals in private homes. But in May this year, it said views were split and it needed more time to study the issue.

Those in support of short-term rentals often cite benefits such as a boost for tourism and supplemental income for home owners. On the other hand, some have concerns over disamenities arising from the presence of transient strangers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2016, with the headline 'Rental limits for Airbnb's London, Amsterdam hosts'. Print Edition | Subscribe