News of: Saturday, May 25 2013,

Record E 144,000 for illegal hotel at Keizersgracht Amsterdam

The owner of an illegal hotel in the centre of Amsterdam has been fined E 144,000,- . This is the highest fine for an illegal hotel ever, so far.

The illegal hotel was in a house along the Keizersgracht canal, with 6 apartments.

Running a hotel without a licence is illegal, and subject to fines. Mostly, illegal hotels are residential apartments that are rented out to tourists or expats for a short period.

In principle, renting out a residential property to tourists constitutes an infringement of the rules laid down by the City of Amsterdam (but exceptions apply). The City of Amsterdam says that, by renting out to tourists, the apartment is effectively turned into a hotel, and the apartment is taken from the market as a residence.

The background of the strict enforcement is that more and more apartments in Amsterdam are turned into hotels. Regular hotels complain about illegal competition, the fire brigade warns for unsafe hotels, and other residents in the apartment complex complain about noise and pollution by tourists.

In the Netherlands, the problem of illegal hotels is more or less confined to the centre of Amsterdam. But - last week an apartment complex in Maastricht was closed down as being an illegal hotel. The owner had tried to sell the (new) apartments, but due to the bad housing market in the Netherlands he did not succeed, and turned to touristic rentals.

The problem also occurs in other popular cities. Recently, a home owner in New York got fined $2,400 for turning his residential property into a hotel, which violated zoning regulations of the city.

According to AT5, the Amsterdam local news station, in Amsterdam there are more fines against illegal hotels underway - one of the fines being E 96,000.