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Airbnb landlord hit with record fine in Amsterdam

THE HAGUE, Feb 7 — Amsterdam has slapped a record fine of €297,000 (RM1,413,233) on a landlord and agency which broke council rules in renting out 11 apartments via home-sharing giant Airbnb, officials said yesterday.

“We were called in by the neighbours who complained of disturbances,” said city spokeswoman Jeanine Harders.

“After investigating we found that they were illegally renting out apartments.”

The owners and the agency which listed the apartments on Airbnb must each pay €13,500 for each of the 11 apartments, situated in the centre of the busy Dutch capital.

“It’s the usual fine, but multiplied by 11 that makes it a record,” she said, adding that the municipality had imposed almost 200 such fines in 2016.

In December, Amsterdam reached a pioneering agreement with Airbnb to limit the sharing of private homes in the city to 60 days a year.

The city of some 830,000 residents, famous for its canals, welcomes more than 17 million visitors every year, leaving many jostling for space on its busy roads and pushing up the price of accommodation.

Under the agreement, which went into effect in January and continues until the end of 2018, Airbnb vowed to introduce a new day counter on its site to help hosts track their rentals and to ensure no-one breaks the rules.

The increasingly popular site has been targeted by several cities exasperated by what is seen as a bid at times to avoid local laws and taxes. — AFP

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