Unclear if Amsterdam can ban Airbnb, vacation rentals

Airbnb
Airbnb. Photo: Screenshot / airbnb.com

It is unclear whether the municipality of Amsterdam will be able to implement a ban on renting entire homes to tourists through sites like Airbnb, as the Amsterdam faction of the for the upcoming municipal elections.

Amsterdam alderman Laurens Ivens believes that such a ban is impossible. "We literally put this question to the Ministry of Home Affairs and then Minister Ronald Plasterk replied that this was not possible", he said to Het Parool. As SP party leader in Amsterdam, Ivens shares the PvdA's ambition to do something about these holiday rentals, but he doesn't think a complete ban will work.

The Ministry of Home Affairs never told Amsterdam that such a ban is impossible, a spokesperson for the ministry said to Financieele Dagblad. According to the spokesperson, the Ministry never investigated whether a complete ban infringes on property rights. "The question is how exactly they want to arrange it", he said to FD. "If they want to arrange it via the zoning plan, then it has other implications than via the Housing Act."

The Ministry did look into Amsterdam's plan to ban renting out a home on Airbnb for more than 60 days per year, which the Dutch capital implemented at the start of this year. According to the spokesperson, no homeowners filed a lawsuit against this measure so far.

The PvdA's plan is to ban the rental of entire homes via sites like Airbnb, but not the letting of single rooms, meaning the proposal would not affect true Bed & Breakfasts. According to the party, these holiday rentals cause too many undesirable situations. Such as skyrocketing housing prices, which can partly be attributed to this type of house sharing.

"We now see, for example, that people have to rent out their house because otherwise they can no longer pay their mortgage", Marjolein Moorman, PvdA leader in Amsterdam, said to BNR. "Many people can therefore no longer live in the city. But the cohesion is also disappearing. Some local residents no longer see neighbors. Only tourists."

The PvdA thinks that allowing the rental of single rooms, such as with B&Bs, will be allowable as long as the owner still sleeps in his or her house. "Then you are at home yourself and you can make sure that six drunken English tourists don't make noise all night", Moorman said to the broadcaster. 

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