From The Guardian



“I think it’s obvious that Airbnb contributes to gentrification,” Sito Veracruz, an urban planner, says. “It drives up real estate prices that are already searing in Amsterdam. Neighbourhood business that create ties between residents are replaced by businesses that only focus on tourists. Bike rental companies replace local grocery shops. And apartments that are continuously rented out to tourists are lost to people who want to actually live here.”

Such is Veracruz’s concern that he is trying to create an alternative service: Fairbnb. What he proposes is a short-stay rental platform that is beneficial to the city – with hosts who are registered with the council, and neighbours who are involved in the management of the platform. …

An estimated 22,000 rooms and flats in the Dutch capital are now offered for rent this way at least once a year. In the most popular neighbourhoods, as many as one in six homeowners rent out a room or flat on Airbnb.

Earlier this year, the Dutch bank ING stated in a report that Airbnb drives up real estate prices, because people are prepared to pay more for a flat when they can make extra money by renting it out. The bank found the effect to be “considerable”, although not everybody agrees on this conclusion. “The studies that have been done are not very well founded,” says Janine Harbers, a spokeswoman for Amsterdam’s city council. “But some effect seems likely.” …

In fact, Amsterdam has taken some steps to address the impact of Airbnb on its housing markets. Back in 2014, it was the first city to sign an agreement with the multinational, which saw Airbnb agree to levy and hand over tourist taxes to the city, remove addresses where the council has intervened because of complaints, and inform users of its rules (typically, that apartments should be rented out for no longer than 60 days per year, to not more than four guests at a time).

What the city has been unable to do, however, is make Airbnb disclose the identity of those hosts who do not stick to its rules. The company still refuses to do so on privacy grounds.