Amsterdam city centre rental ban ruled to be illegal

Netherlands: The imposing of a ban on short-term rentals in three city centre districts in Amsterdam last year has now been ruled illegal by the Dutch capital’s administrative court.

The case was brought to court by housing lobby group Amsterdam Gastvrij, which represents home owners who list their homes on rental platforms, according to Dutch daily newspaper Het Parool.

It has now been announced that the city is not able to make a ruling about holiday rentals in an entire district as it is not permitted under housing legislation. However, the City Council still has the jurisdiction to impose restrictions, including ordering permits and limiting the number of rental nights in the city to 30, as part of its strategy to combat perceived over-tourism.

Amsterdam has long been at odds with the rise of Airbnb-style holiday rentals in its city, and the influx of tourists causing noise disturbances.

It culminated in the city confirming that short-term rentals would be banned in the old town neighbourhoods of Burgwallen-Nieuwe Zijde, Burgwallen-Oude Zijde and the Grachtengordel-Zuid from 1 July. The city caveated that by adding that rentals would only be permitted in other Amsterdam neighbourhoods if they were to obtain a special permit, which would entitle groups of no more than four people to stay there for a maximum of 30 nights per year.

Previously, a petition suggesting a limit on visitor numbers in the city had been signed by more than 23,000 people, and two years prior to that, Amsterdam City Council imposed a cap on the number of nights travellers could rent a property there, cutting it down from 60 nights to 30 per year.

Amsterdam Gastvrij spokesman Tim Klein Haneveld praised the work of his group’s team and expressed his satisfaction at the verdict: “We had serious doubts about the legal justification for the ban in these areas.”

City housing chief Laurens Ivens offered a contrasting opinion, saying that it was only a matter of time before the bans are reinstated.

It follows last month’s announcement that Amsterdam’s famous red light district would be shut down, with an alternative “erotic centre” being set up in another area of the city centre.

The proposal by Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema was put forward to shut many of the windows in narrow alleyways around the city’s docks and has been backed by the majority of political parties in a bid to overhaul tourism in the capital.

Dutch Labour Party member Dennis Boutkan said at the time: “This is about a reset of Amsterdam as a visitor city. Tourists are welcome to enjoy the beauty and freedom of the city, but not at any cost.”