News of: Monday, February 04 2013,
Confusion has arisen about the legal status of apartment booking websites like AirBnB and Wimdu.
An article on Thenextweb.com about Amsterdam apartment rentals had written that the Amsterdam authorities wanted to close down the booking websites.
An Amsterdam city spokesperson has said that this is explicityly not the case. Amsterdam has announced it will actively look for illegal hotels in Amsterdam, and will use the booking sites to track them down.
Illegal hotels may be shut down, and people who have booked an apartment there may lose their booking.
It is illegal in Amsterdam, in principle, for an apartment owner to rent out his/her apartment to tourists. Amsterdam classifies this as running a hotel, for which a licence is needed.
Websites that advertise these illegal hotels, are not themselves illegal.
Many apartment owners in Amsterdam have started to make money through apartment rentals on websites like Airbnb and Wimdu. In fact, Airbnb already lists more than 4,000 properties in Amsterdam alone.
The background of the enforcement action taken by the city of Amsterdam is fourfold:
- Legal hotels and short-stay apartments complain about unfair competition
- The Amsterdam fire brigade has safety concerns (last year, a house that was used as an illegal hotel burnt down).
- Amsterdam wants to retain a healthy mix of residential, recreational and business use of the city. The large number of residential properties that are used as a hotel, particularly in the centre of Amsterdam, cause an inbalance, and negatively affect the general atmosphere in downtown Amsterdam.
- apartments that are used as hotels, in apartment complexes that are otherwise residential, cause trouble with drunk/noisy tourists.
(The short-stay apartments listed on Simply Amsterdam have all been checked by the city authorities, and are legally rented to tourists and expats).