Crackdown on illegal Airbnb listings comes with €6,000 fine

This story has been updated.

Amsterdam officials have a New Year’s resolution they seem to want to stick to: crack down on an estimated 6,000 Airbnb rentals in the city that break local rules.

Amsterdam data analyst Nico Van Gog and ‘Inside Airbnb’ data activist Murray Cox collected two separate sets of data based on data ‘scrapings’ – an automated retrieval of website data – listings active from Airbnb. Their findings were reported in the Dutch daily find, with both showing that more than 6,000 of the popular tourist town’s 18,500 listings exceeded the 60 days a year occupancy limit, or violated other local rules such as renting to more than four tourists.

If it should be noted that Cox’s “Inside Airbnb” data collection project—which spans multiple cities and has garnered significant media coverage—has an activist and anti-sharing economy bias, Van Gog’s other analyzes have would have been used previously by local elected officials. The two datasets used different collection techniques – including, in Van Gog’s case, some physical inspections – and corroborated each other.

Local manager Laurens Ivens was quoted in Find about its intention to crack down on rogue listings using a relatively new tool. Since October 1st, Airbnb hosts in Amsterdam have been required to report each day their listing is rented to a guest. In January, the city plans to start enforcing the rule with aplomb, using a bunch of tactics including digital investigation teams, mystery guests and mechanisms for Amsterdam residents to report their neighbours. Violators can be fined €6,000 ($7,157) for failing to report them.

According to figures provided to Find by Ivens, only 2,500 rentals have been reported since the entry into force of the reporting obligation ordinance. That means Airbnb hosts could be in for a bad New Year’s shock: confess or pay.

Update: In response to this story and a request for comment from Quartz, Airbnb noted in an email that public data does not provide an accurate picture of their listings. A representative made the following comment:

“These data are flawed and use the wrong methodology. While other companies do nothing, Airbnb automatically limits how often hosts can share their entire home and has reduced the number of listings of entire homes shared for more than 60 nights in one by nearly three-quarters. year. And while other forms of accommodation concentrate customers in tourist hotspots and extract huge sums of money from the places where they do business, Airbnb distributes customers and tourist euros to local families and their communities. . We regularly publish official data on the benefits of flatsharing for families in Amsterdam – verified by an independent third party – and the typical list is shared less than 3 days per month.

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