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Airbnb Is Appeasing City Regulators With Rental Limits

Dec 01, 2016

Home-sharing firm Airbnb said it will for the first time impose fixed limits on the number of nights a year that hosts can rent out their homes through its site in Amsterdam and London.

It's a move that is in keeping with other recent efforts by Airbnb to mollify regulators who have pushed back strongly against the company and its business model over concerns that short-term rentals make housing opportunities for longer-term residents scarcer and more expensive.

As of January, the company will automatically block hosts in Amsterdam from renting out entire homes for more than the legal limit of 60 days a year, unless they have a license to do so. It will apply the same principle in London, where the legal limit is 90 days.

The rule could be a template for cities in the U.S. and elsewhere, according to The Wall Street Journal. It quoted James McClure, Airbnb’s general manager for northern Europe, as saying that, “The new measures are an example to the world.”

The measures don't appear to directly address the issues Airbnb is facing in cities such as San Francisco and New York, but they could form part of a longer-term peace deal with them. San Francisco enacted an ordinance in October to force hosts to register with the city authorities, and restricted them to listing no more than one property. Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve a 60-night annual limit on such rentals. Meanwhile, New York passed a law banning the advertising of short-term rentals of less than 30 days.

Airbnb argues that cities are acting less out of concern for local residents than for influential hotel owners, whom the company accuses of 'price-gouging.' Such sentiments are often shared by hosts. Imposing limits on short-term rentals, as Airbnb has done today in London and Amsterdam, caps the extent to which they can undercut the hotel industry.

Airbnb didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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