Last week, we saw again that when a city takes the time to study the potential benefits of allowing residents to occasionally host travelers in their own homes, reasonable policies follow. We were excited to see that the City of Amsterdam proposed new, progressive policies that clarify how local hosts can rent out their homes on Airbnb and that show the City’s commitment to promoting the growth of the sharing economy.
Because Airbnb and other sharing economy companies are still so new, we often face a lot of misconceptions and misinformation as we begin dialogues with governments around the world. Often, the first round of stories about short-term rentals in a given city focuses on illegal hotels, and it can be hard to break through that story to talk about the truth of who our hosts are—regular residents helping to make ends meet by occasional renting out their own homes.
That is why we are so grateful that the City of Amsterdam embarked on its own study of the situation, and concluded that a line can indeed be drawn between unwanted illegal hotels on the one hand, and the amazing economic benefits created when regular residents are allowed the freedom to rent out their own homes once in awhile.
The Amsterdam City Board has now made it clear that Amsterdam residents can occasionally rent out their own homes under certain conditions. This policy, and comments from the City of Amsterdam, recognize the positive impact that the Airbnb community can have on its city. Here’s a translation of what the City said:
A phenomenon like holiday rentals fits a city that values freedom of choice and connecting to the rest of the world. It also makes better use of the housing stock, can be a touristic economic stimulus, and apparently fills a need of today’s tourists. Because of this, apartments are not empty during absence and the city’s tourist offering is more diverse. It also fits the strong development of social media and the tourist preferences to "live like a local."
Amsterdam residents, according to research, agree that there should be a place for holiday rental, if it is properly designed. Given the worldwide trend, it is important that Amsterdam, as one of the most important tourist cities in Europe, keeps up with this development.
These rules are good news for families in Amsterdam who use Airbnb to share their city with travelers from around the world. The rules recognize that our hosts are local residents who use Airbnb to help make ends meet—not hotel operators, as some like to suggest. And they come after a series of positive, productive conversations between our team and leaders in Amsterdam who know that Airbnb is contributing to the local economy and making Amsterdam stronger. Leaders in Amsterdam took the time to learn about Airbnb and the sharing economy, and the more they learned, the more they saw how this activity is adding to the fabric of one of Europe’s great cities.
We applaud the City of Amsterdam for this positive step forward. We know there is more work to do, and we look forward to continuing to work with the city to ensure the Airbnb community continues to thrive, and the sharing economy can flourish.