News of: Tuesday, November 22 2011,
Frank van Dalen, member of the Council of Amsterdam for the VVD, has stepped down.
The council member owns an apartment complex in the centre of Amsterdam, and the apartments are rented out to tourists visiting the Dutch capital.
The city says he runs a hotel, for which a hotel license is needed (and not given in this case). Van Dalen maintains it is not a hotel, but a short-stay apartment business.
Apart from that, the fire department finds the apartments unsafe, and requires that safety measures are taken, like in other hotels.
Van Dalen, who is also the spokesperson for construction and residential issues for his party, decided to step down after the political turmoil that ensued after the accusations of running an 'illegal hotel'. His business, the Prince Hendrik Apartment Suites, may have to be closed down.
It is not the first time that apartment rentals cause problems in Amsterdam. In previous years, the city has cracked down on 'illegal hotels', that is apartments that were used as hotels by renting them out to tourists.
Hotels had complained about illegal competition, and residents complain about noise and other problems caused by tourists. The city wants residential properties to be used for 'real' long-term living, in order to preserve the livabilaty of the inner city.
In the opinion of the city, the number of 'illegal hotels' had increased too much.
Since a few years new rules are in place to accommodate short-stay rentals in Amsterdam. Owners can apply for a short-stay license, in which case they can rent out the apartment with a minimum of 1 week. The minimum stay of 1 week is to ensure that these apartments are not used for tourism, but for expats who need to be in Amsterdam for short term assignments.
Another possibility is that owners can run a bed and breakfast apartment within their own house, provided this does not take up more than 40% of the space of a house.
These rules apply in Amsterdam; in other towns other rules may apply.