Brussels to create action plan to combat illegal Airbnbs

Belgium: The city of Brussels is creating an action plan to restrict the growth of illegal Airbnb rentals in the city centre and embankment.

The news was confirmed by Brussels mayor Philippe Close and town planning councillor Ans Persoons in a report by the city’s newspaper, The Brussels Times.

The pair said: “We want to see around a thousand properties back on the rental market by the end of this legislation.

“Airbnbs have become big business, but they are often run by professionals who buy a large number of properties and rent them through the site. Some neighbourhoods are left with fewer and fewer apartments available to rent and the balance between residents and tourists is threatened,” added Persoons.

According to the report, some 7,400 properties in the Brussels region are listed for short-term rental on Airbnb’s website at this moment in time, with 2,200 of them located in the capital itself. The authorities say meanwhile that 1,600 of said properties are exclusively listed on the platform.

Persoons said: “Most of the Airbnbs in Brussels are illegal and don’t respect Brussels legislation on tourist accommodation.

“We want to avoid becoming like Paris or Amsterdam, where the site is even more popular. We don’t want just tourists living in the city centre,” she added.

As a plan of action, Persoons is proposing that authorities fine hosts of illegal Airbnbs to encourage them to continue their operations provided that they put their properties back on the city’s traditional rental market.