Amsterdam to heavily restrict house-swapping vacations
Home exchange for holidays is becoming more complicated for Amsterdam residents due to a measure taken by the municipality. HomeExchange, the global market leader for house swapping, recently informed its estimated 1,300 Amsterdam users that they have to register with the municipality from October, Parool reports.
The municipality will soon treat home swappers the same as people who rent their homes to tourists on platforms like Airbnb. It means that people will only be allowed to swap their homes for a maximum of 30 days. It is not yet clear whether visitors who use the scheme will have to pay tourist tax. And for home swappers, it also means that the municipality will know when they are on holiday.
As a result of the measure, some Amsterdam residents won’t be able to go on holiday in this way anymore. Some homeowners’ associations and social housing corporations don’t allow holiday rentals, which will include home exchange from October. It could mean that some people won’t be able to go on holiday at all due to the added expense of accommodation.
Amsterdam resident NIki Rap has started a petition to stop the measure. She has been using the home swap system for nearly a decade. “Home exchange is something completely different from a holiday rental. It is a kind of hippie model that is based on sharing and not money,” she told Parool. According to Rap, people who use home swap treat your belongings with more respect. “They also want you to treat their home well and have more respect for the neighbors and your neighborhood.”
According to Rap, the municipality is ignoring the less wealthy people in Amsterdam for whom home swapping offered an opportunity to go on holiday. “House exchange is a friendly model for going on holiday in a budget-friendly manner. I have also spoken to teachers who go on holiday for more than 30 days a year: this affects people in education. It is overregulation by the municipality.”
A spokesperson for alderman Zita Pels (Public Housing) told Parool that home exchange falls under the Housing Act adopted in 2014, and users must, therefore, comply with the same rules as those for holiday rentals, “The HomeExchange platform works with a points system, which clearly creates a transaction that is equivalent to a direct monetary transaction. You pay for renting the house by renting out your house,” the spokesperson said.
When asked why the municipality is taking this measure nine years after HomeExchange started gaining popularity, the spokesperson hinted that it is due to the platform’s growth, according to Parool. “Many Amsterdam residents are unaware of the rules without malicious intent. We are currently working with HomeExchange to communicate the rules regarding holiday rentals to their members.”
Home swapping for holidays has become very popular in recent years. In July and August, HomeExchange registered 85,533 home swap overnight stays worldwide, an increase of 35 percent compared to 2022. In Amsterdam, there were 34,627 overnight stays in the two summer months, 33 percent more than last year.