Amsterdam to impose stricter daily limit on Airbnb rentals

The municipality of Amsterdam has decided to decrease the maximum number of nights a private home may be rented. The 50 percent reduction takes the number of nights from 60 down to 30 beginning on New Year's Day 2019, the city said in a statement.

"I know that the decreasing of the limit is not the solution to the fuss in the city. But at least this ruling could diminish the nuisance caused by tourists in certain districts," said Laurens Ivens, the Amsterdam Alderman in charge of housing issues. He acknowledged that it will deter many from renting their home out at all.

Amsterdam said a recent court ruling gives the city the right to reduce the rental limit as it sees fit. The Labour party has called for a ban on Airbnb-type temporary stay rental platforms, and made it a part of the party's mandate for the upcoming municipal elections. Ivens, from socialist SP, shares the Labour party's concerns but does not think the city is allowed to enforce such a ban.

There were roughly 4,500 homes available for vacation rentals in 2013, when development of an updated temporary stay policy began. Since then, that number increased nearly five-fold.

According to the municipality, Amsterdam is home to at least 22 thousand vacation rentals locations and at least six thousand of them do not follow city regulations regarding home shares, hotel licensing, and Bed and Breakfast registrations. Data revealed last year suggested as many as five thousand Airbnb listings are made available every day or nearly every day of the year, and another thousand listings do not follow other rules, like maximum occupancy.

The issue became more urgent in 2016 and 2017 as Amsterdam faced skyrocketing housing prices, which was partially attributed to the popularity of renting out rooms on Airbnb. The city is struggling to provide affordable housing for lower earners, new home constructions at starter pricing, and even enough rooms for the tens of thousands of students who study in the city. Amsterdam has also implemented public policy and a marketing effort to try and reduce overcrowding in the city center and De Pijp districts.

The city also approved a rule requiring the owners of Amsterdam rooms, flats, and houses to register with the city if they plan on renting them out for temporary stays on sites like Airbnb. Failure to do so could lead to a fine of six thousand euros. The rule went into effect on January 1.

Amsterdam collects a tourist tax from Airbnb listings, which equals six percent of both the rental price and cleaning fee. This rises to six percent in 2018. The tourist tax total is expected to raise nine million euros in revenue annually after the increase.