Amsterdam continues assault on Airbnb illegal hotels

The city of Amsterdam is launching a new digital investigating method in the fight against illegal hotels and housing fraud through sites such as Airbnb, the city announced on Monday. The new method will be implemented in April this year.

This new method involves scraping and analyzing digital information of booking sites, such as Airbnb. Scraping is the automated collection of content from third party databases. Using only publicly available booking site information, the city will focus on looking for home owners who no longer live in their homes, rent out multiple homes to tourists, rent out their home for more than 60 days or rent it out to more than four people at a time.

To help in realizing this new investigating method, Amsterdam opened its own Datalab on Monday. Expertise and data are brought together in the Datalab to to enable innovative applications with data and technology, according to the city.

"With this form of digital investigation Amsterdam has developed a new and innovative method to combat illegal renting", said Laurens Ivens, alderman of Housing. "So far we mainly acted after Amsterdammers reported suspected housing fraud at hotline Zoeklicht. With this new way of digital investigation we change our way of control from reactive to proactive."

The ever increasing number of tourists in the city means that illegal renting is a big problem in Amsterdam. In September last year almost 10 thousand Amsterdam homes were listed on Airbnb. Amsterdam is also the first Dutch city to enlist Airbnb's help in maintaining the cities tourism laws and paying tourist tax. In December Airbnb removed at least 170 Amsterdam accommodations from the site for not complying with the rules.

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