Airbnb agrees to limit private rentals in London, Amsterdam
A woman browses the site of U.S. home sharing giant Airbnb on a tablet. (AFP / John Macdougall)
Mike Corder, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, December 1, 2016 5:40PM EST
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Airbnb will start enforcing limits to private home rentals in two popular European cities on the home-sharing platform, London and Amsterdam, the company said Thursday.
The move comes amid complaints from some cities that the booming house sharing sector can lead to illegal hotels and contribute to housing shortages.
In London, Airbnb said it will "introduce new and automated limits to help ensure entire home listings in London are not shared for more than 90 days," unless hosts prove they have permission to share their space for longer. The new measures will be in place by spring 2017.
The Dutch capital and the online rental service said that they will work together to ensure that home owners can only rent out their properties for a maximum of 60 days per year.
Amsterdam had introduced its limit earlier, but Airbnb said that from Jan. 1 its site will introduce automated tools to ensure homes aren't listed for more than 60 days a year unless the owners have a license.
"A home should remain a home," Amsterdam alderman Laurens Ivens said in a statement.
"With this new approach we are showing that working together with platforms such as Airbnb gives the city a new and efficient weapon to tackle illegal hotels," he added.
Airbnb's General Manager for Northern Europe, James McClure, said, "We want to be good partners for everyone in the city and ensure home sharing grows responsibly and sustainably."
Airbnb says a typical host in Amsterdam earns 3,800 euros ($4,041) by sharing their space for 28 nights a year. In London, a typical Airbnb host earns 3,500 pounds ($4,408 ) by sharing their space for 50 nights a year.
Since the company launched in 2008, when the co-founders invited travellers to sleep on an air mattress in their San Francisco loft, Airbnb has grown to be one of the world's most valuable private startups by collecting fees when private hosts rent out accommodations listed on the site.
But it also has run into problems with city fathers and local residents concerned by the rapid rise in rentals.
Last week, Barcelona authorities said they would fine Airbnb and another rental site, HomeAway, 600,000 euros each for offering lodging that doesn't have the necessary permits.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau told Catalunya Radio that while tourism was an asset for the Spanish city, it had grown too much and was denying locals access to housing.