Amsterdam cracks down on illegal holiday home rentals
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AMSTERDAM, Feb 8 — Amsterdam is booking progress in its fight against illegal holiday rentals, the city said yesterday, dishing out over €4 million (RM19.3 million) in fines as it seeks to stem a stream of tourists.
“There has been an intensive crackdown on housing fraud over the past year,” the Amsterdam council said in a statement.
Some 378 fines were handed out totalling €4.2 million (US$5.1 million), “the overwhelming majority of these for the illegal rental of holiday apartments,” it said.
The news comes as the highest Dutch court, the State Council, upheld stiff fines totalling €168,000 for illegal holiday rentals in the capital.
Last month Amsterdam announced it would impose a new 30-day curb on the renting of private homes via websites like online booking giant Airbnb from next year, as it seeks ways to deal with the masses of tourists that flock to the city’s canals, museums and famous cannabis-friendly red-light district.
“By enforcing these measures, the city wants to end the illegal use of homes... which can then again be made available on the normal housing market,” the council said.
It also hailed agreements with Airbnb which it said remained the largest online rent-a-home provider in Amsterdam.
The agreements included Airbnb informing its potential hirers over rules and regulations in Amsterdam and that rentals this year may not exceed 60 days.
Airbnb had also blocked 1,770 adverts for home rentals that exceeded the 60-day threshold, the city said.
This week Airbnb praised the “positive results these measures have brought to the Amsterdam community.”
But it said it was disappointed that it was one of the few online rent-a-house businesses sticking to the rules.
“A year after the agreement between Airbnb and Amsterdam, many other online platforms refuse to follow Airbnb’s example,” it said.
“Airbnb is helping Amsterdammers to share their homes in a responsible manner and with tourist tax,” the company’s northern European general manager James McClure said.
“We are disappointed that others are not taking similar steps to help strengthen the city,” McClure said in the statement.
In total, Airbnb said it helped Amsterdam residents rake in some €125 million in income and contributed some €500 million to the capital’s economy in 2016. — AFP