UK: Airbnb has bowed to pressure from regulators to restrict the number of nights that hosts can rent out their homes in London and Amsterdam.
The decision marks the first time Airbnb has agreed to enforce annual rental
limits, and will see the company automatically preventing hosts in
London from renting their homes for more than 90 nights a year,
unless they have the required change-of use planning permission
from their local authority.
"This will make it easier for hosts in London to act in the best interests of everyone in the city," said Airbnb, adding that the company wanted to "ensure home sharing grows responsibly and sustainably".
In Amsterdam, Airbnb will enforce the city's 60-night limit on short-term rentals and will also start collecting any neighbours' complaints about nearby Airbnb units.
The announcement comes while Airbnb is in negotiations with regulators in New York and San Francisco, which have both cracked down on use of the service. It recently agreed to enforce a "one host, one home" policy that prevents landlords having multiple listings in New York and San Francisco. It is yet to announce enforced annual rental limits in those cities.
As the regulatory screw tightens on Airbnb around the world, these voluntary restrictions are a clear indicator that the company has embarked on the path of becoming a regulated mainstream hospitality operator - it can only swim against the tide for so long.
Significantly, the London move is a volutary one, despite the fact that it will result in Airbnb losing revenue. In 2015, 25 per cent of homes listed in the UK capital were let for more than 90 nights in the year.
The London and Amsterdam moves come at at time when Airbnb is also seeking to diffuse regulatory pressure in other areas. The company said it wants to secure 500 more deals with cities to collect and remit taxes on rental income. It has 200 such deals at present, including one in San Francisco to collect the city’s 14 per cent transient occupancy tax.
Expect a series of further placatory moves to come, as Airbnb secures its long-term future operating model.