The Netherlands goes after Airbnb – POLITICO

European mayors crusading against Airbnb have gained a powerful new ally: the Netherlands.

The Dutch government wants the home-sharing platform to share more data with authorities and do more to crack down on illegal activity.

“To combat the side effects of ‘short-term vacation rentals’ on European cities and to enforce legislation, we need better access to data from platforms such as Airbnb,” said Kajsa Ollongren, vice -Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the Netherlands.

The Dutch have long been up in arms against Airbnb, which they accuse of distorting the housing markets of cities like Amsterdam by making accommodation unaffordable. Airbnb is accused of other unwanted side effects like excessive tourism and anti-social behavior.

The Hague now sees an opportunity in the upcoming EU regulation for tech companies to impose more obligations on the US company, according to a government paper seen by POLITICO.

The European Commission is expected to present the Digital Services Act (DSA) on December 2, a piece of legislation to regulate online platforms that will also cover so-called sharing economy companies like Airbnb and BlaBlaCar.

The Dutch government has joined a choir of mayors across Europe, led by Amsterdam, calling on Brussels to rein in the US platform.

And the Netherlands has a chance to regulate the company more strictly at the Council of the European Union, where it will, together with other EU countries, amend the Commission’s proposed Digital Services Act.

“In general, there is a need to reconsider and review the role and responsibilities of the platforms on certain points. For example in the fight against illegal activities, such as the placement of illegal advertisements,” the government said.

The Hague would also like to have more power over the platform, whose European headquarters are located in Ireland.

Under current rules the so-called country of origin principle of the 2000 electronic commerce directive online services are under the authority of the country in which they are based, making it difficult for the Netherlands to regulate the business on its own turf.

“The Digital Services Act must restore this balance, according to which Member States must have sufficient prospects within the framework of the country of origin principle to set rules for services which are provided on their own territory, but where the provider of the service is not established,” the Dutch government said.

Tight relationships

Amsterdam was one of the epicenters of the Airbnb boom in Europe. According to the Dutch government document, the city had 7,000 Airbnb listings in 2014. By 2018, that number had risen to 30,000.

Amsterdam last summer banned holiday rentals in parts of its old town and introduced a special permit that limits apartment rentals to groups of up to four people for a maximum of 30 days a year. From 2021, the Dutch authorities will also be able to introduce authorization schemes for holiday rentals.

Last February, Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk traveled to the Netherlands with the aim of convincing the Dutch government that the host registration system should be voluntary. In a letter In government, Blecharczyk pledged to share aggregated data, announced new tools to tackle noise and promised to help more cities collect tourist tax.

But the Dutch don’t think these commitments go far enough. Without more granular rental data, authorities say they will struggle to enforce local laws.

“This is exactly what we are struggling with in European cities: houses are not used for what they are supposed to be used for: living, and some neighborhoods are completely overrun with tourists. This is a serious threat to the habitability of our inhabitants,” said Laurens Ivens, deputy mayor of Amsterdam in charge of housing.

“This has to stop now.”

More data

Tackling the problem by restricting Airbnb landlords does not go far enough, according to the Netherlands, and they are pushing Airbnb to provide access to data such as the addresses of rental apartments and the number of days they stay there. are rented.

“Governments need better access to platform data so they can effectively enforce (local) laws and regulations – in the most extensive case in the form of a data-sharing obligation,” the newspaper said. Dutch.

Asked about Airbnb at a hearing in the European Parliament last month, Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said there was no final decision yet on what kind of data the platform should have. provide to the authorities.

“But [there will be] know-your-customer obligations, you will need to know who you are dealing with,” she told MPs. She also stressed the importance of “leaving room for local rules and decentralized agreements” with mayors, in particular on the number of rentals authorized per year.

Airbnb told the Commission that it it would not bother me share data with cities as long as it receives guidance on how to comply with Europe’s strict privacy rules.

“Data sharing is an integral part of our direct work with hundreds of local, regional and national governments to make sure our platform works for everyone’s benefit,” said Patrick Robinson, Airbnb’s director of public policy for Europe.

Eline Schaart contributed reporting.

You want more analysis of POLITICS? POLITICS Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers the real-time intelligence, in-depth insights and scoops you need to stay ahead. E-mail [email protected] to request a free trial.

Comments are closed.