Airbnb-style rental platforms ordered Beijing’s listings to be removed, sources say

A majority of non-hotel listings have been removed from Airbnb-style short-term rental platforms in Beijing by order of the city government, company sources told Caixin.

Several government agencies, including the Beijing Municipal Housing and Urban and Rural Development Commission, the local cyberspace administration office and the public security bureau, summoned nine short-term rental platforms for a meeting. on August 20, ordering platforms to remove “non-compliant properties” within seven days. Rural lists are not affected.

Representatives from Airbnb, Trip.com, Meituan, Tujia, Qunar, Xiaozhu, Tongcheng-Elong, Muniao and Fliggy, owned by Alibaba, were in attendance.

The wave of sudden cuts has fueled speculation about a broader regulatory crackdown on these companies, as company insiders have sought to link it to an expected influx of tourists when a new theme park opens. and resort complex in the city later this month.

Platform operators will be allowed to take back urban listings after submitting additional documents, according to a person from Xiaozhu with knowledge of the matter. The person also said that properties that had been removed on Xiaozhu accounted for 70% of the platform’s listings in Beijing, although some have already been approved for re-listing.

A landlord who rented a short-term property on Airbnb told Caixin that she had to upload eight documents, including written consent to use the property for short-term rental, proof of ownership, an operating permit for the property. , and security guarantee documents signed by the local police station before she was given permission to rent her house.

A spokesperson for Trip.com also confirmed the reductions and said the company “will comply with the rules and regulations set out by the local government.” We will continue to oversee the management of these units accordingly. “

The withdrawal comes eight months after the Beijing Municipal Housing and Urban-Rural Development Commission and three other government agencies posted a review on the regulation of short-term rental housing, pointing out the lack of verification of tenant identity and documentation, security risks and nuisance complaints.

In a published interpretation (link in Chinese) of the opinion, the housing authority disputed that short-term rentals do not require tenants to register according to police rules like hotels do.

“Short-term rental housing that is not properly regulated can easily become a hideout for prostitutes, drug addicts or even terrorists,” the interpretation adds.

The rules, which came into effect in February, prohibited short-term rentals in the “center of the capital”, including the Dongcheng district, where tourist attractions like Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City are located, as well as the district. Xicheng of the city. .

The current round of moves was first implemented in the Tongzhou area of ​​Beijing, where the new Universal Beijing Resort is located, before expanding to the rest of the city, according to a rental platform employee in short term who attended the August 20 meeting.

Tongzhou is bracing for a surge in tourists when the resort opens in less than three weeks on September 20. Within an hour of officially announcing the opening date on Monday, Trip.com said its traffic climbed at least 830% from the same time last week. Searches for hotels in the region also increased by 320%. At the same time, the capital anticipates a large number of visitors during the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.

According to published data (link in Chinese) by iiMedia Research in July last year, Beijing had 42,000 short-term rental listings, the highest among cities in China, followed by Chengdu and Shanghai.

Online platforms issuing short-term leases are required to verify tenant identification and record their personal information prior to their stay, according to the notice. Owners are also required to submit valid documents and related licenses to online platforms.

Contact journalists Kelsey Cheng ([email protected]) and Flynn Murphy and editor Joshua Dummer ([email protected])

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