Court upholds €24,000 fine on Amsterdam Airbnb landlord

On the Zwanenburgwal canal in Amsterdam, facing the Amstel river. Sept. 30, 2007 (photo: S Sepp / Wikimedia). (On the Zwanenburgwal canal in Amsterdam, facing the Amstel river. Sept. 30, 2007 (photo: S Sepp / Wikimedia))

An Amsterdam man and his adult-aged son were ordered to pay a 24 thousand euro fine imposed on them by the municipality for renting out their home on website Airbnb. The decision was handed down by an Amsterdam court on Tuesday, bolstering the city's aggressive stance on regulating the use of Airbnb in the capital.

The pair were accused of renting their home on Zwanenburgwal, across a canal from Amsterdam city hall, for a greater amount of time than the allowable 60 days per year for a maximum of four tenants. Their defense was that the apartment was only listed on Airbnb to take advantage of insurance coverage provided by the site, but that the renters were merely friends, relatives and colleagues.

The municipality told the court that the renters were instructed to tell anyone asking questions about the property that they were friends of the owner. Moreover, an audit conducted by newspaper De Telegraaf noted that the home was listed on the site for a substantial amount of money, and that the homeowners received over a hundred positive reviews for their service.

In addition to the cap on the number of days a property may be subleased, apartments in the city must also meet specific safety requirements and operators must collect a tourist tax. Landlords in violation of these rules could be accused of running an unlicensed hotel.

Though private market homeowners may take advantage of the city's policy up to 60 days annually, many apartment renters are not allowed to do the same. Tenants living in social housing are forbidden from earning income commercially on their apartments, and may be fined or evicted for doing so.