AirBnb is a website where owners can place their accommodation, and tourists can find accommodation. It works worldwide, and in Amsterdam it has thousands of listed properties.
The company is part of the so-called 'sharing economy'. Like in several other cities, renting residential properties to tourists is causing problems. Tourists can cause noise and other hindrance, the rented out properties can be a fire hazard, it is considered unfair competition for hotels (that have to invest into all kinds of satety requirements). Plus, the character and atmosphere of popular neighbourhoods can be negatively affected.
Amsterdam has created special rules for these rental activities.
- An owner can not rent out a property for more than 60 days per year
- A maximum of 4 guests is allowed
- Tourist tax has to be paid
Rental properties that don't follow the rules are considered illegal hotels.
Very likely, these rules are not obeyed by many people. Amsterdam tries to close down illegal hotels, but is not yet very successful. The reality is that dozens of illegal hotels get shut down and fined every year, but there are probably thousands of them.
It is therefore possible that tourists loose their accommodation that was already booked, if the booked apartment turns out to be an illegal hotel and is shut down by the city government.
For tourists, it is difficult to find out which properties are illegal and which are not.
If the maximum number of guests exceeds 4, it is certainly illegal. Also, if you can tell from an online calendar that an entire apartment is rented out for more than 60 days a year, it is likely illegal.
A big risk of closure exists if an entire apartment building is converted into a hotel. Amsterdam doesn't like this kind of massive illegal rentals, and actively hunts them down.
Screenshot of Inside AirBnB - click here for website.