Four months after facing serious conflicts in The Netherlands, it appears Airbnb has received the Amsterdam city council’s blessing, Dutch news site NU.nl reports. Update: Airbnb has released a statement celebrating the “good news from Amsterdam.” Read more at foot of post.
As we surfaced back in February, Airbnb rentals were the subject of the Amsterdam government’s hunt for illegal hotels. At the time, we knew that at least 200 rentals were being researched, and in a limited number of cases, some renters were even kicked out of apartments. Following our reports, the Amsterdam government backtracked, saying Airbnb isn’t illegal…if you have a permit. We asked hosts quite plainly: “do you have a permit?”
Now, this legal grey area in which Airbnb operates is evolving into a green light from the Amsterdam city government, with some caveats.
DutchNews.nl clarifies that “the council will not allow homes to be rented out if there is nuisance to neighbours, if fire safety is not in order and if the renting is being done professionally.” In other words, hosts have to actually live where they rent, they can’t rent their apartment or home continuously, and if neighbors complain, hosts should expect consequences.
NU.nl’s reports echo a positive sentiment from the Amsterdam city council, which found that Airbnb “rentals can even be a stimulant for tourism and the city’s economy” (translation: TNW). Additionally, DutchNews.nl details that the Amsterdam government found Airbnb rentals affect just “1% of the city’s housing and less than 2% of the overnight stays.”
This news is a major win for Airbnb; the service has seen growing — yet seemingly random — interference from government authorities in various cities. One New York Airbnb host, for example, potentially faced fines of up to $40,000, while another case led Airbnb to intervene in the legal process — without success. Once again, this is still a legal grey area, even in NY, because illegal hotel laws aren’t specifically targeted at Airbnb.
The Amsterdam government appears to be the first to officially welcome Airbnb, and with this precedent in hand, Airbnb could see its legal woes decline. That is, if other city governments are actually listening.
We have reached out to Airbnb, and will update this post if and when we hear back. Update: Here’s a statement from Airbnb
We were excited to see that the City of Amsterdam proposed new, progressive policies that clarify how local hosts can rent out their homes on Airbnb and that show the City’s commitment to promoting the growth of the sharing economy.
The Amsterdam City Board has now made it clear that Amsterdam residents can occasionally rent out their own homes under certain conditions. This policy, and comments from the City of Amsterdam, recognize the positive impact that the Airbnb community can have on its city.
Image credit: Thinkstock / David De Lossy