Amsterdam to investigate a "decent" alternative to Airbnb

A majority of the Amsterdam city council wants to investigate whether it can get a "decent" competitor for Airbnb and on the market that does adhere to the city's rules on holiday rentals, was revealed during a council meeting on Wednesday, reports.

According to research by research agency Colliers, over 40 percent of Amsterdam homes rented through Airbnb last year were rented out for longer than the then allowed 60 days. In 19 percent of the cases, the homes were rented out for longer than 120 days. Airbnb itself disputes these figures, saying that Colliers used a faulty calculation method. According to Airbnb, only 3.2 percent of Amsterdam homes offered on the platform were rented out for more than 60 days.

Housing alderman Laurens Ivens invited the holiday rental companies for a discussion multiple times, but so far they haven't responded. "For the time being, it is therefore enough", he said during the meeting on Wednesday. A majority in the city council therefore decided to look for a "decent" alternative to the current holiday rental sites. ​Fairbnb, an Italian rental company that is actively fighting fraud, was mentioned repeatedly in the city council meeting. PvdA councilor Tom Leenders proposed to "facilitate or establish a healthy counterforce for Airbnb". 

In 2017 Amsterdam made it mandatory to report if you are renting out your home through holiday renal sites. Only a quarter of Amsterdam residents who do so report it to the municipality, according to the newspaper. The city therefore announced tougher measures against homeowners who fail to report renting out their homes to tourists. Amsterdam residents who fail to report their holiday rentals face a fine of 6 thousand euros. If they also fail to meet other conditions, that fine can run up to 20,500 euros. 

A number of city council members raised doubts about whether Amsterdam's stricter checks on illegal holiday rentals are enough to combat this problem. VVD councilor Daan Wijnants argued for "a more effective approach to excesses". Leenders wants the city to make it easier for locals to report illegal rentals.