Dutch court forces Amsterdam Airbnb hosts to seek permits

The Netherlands: The Raad van State, the Netherlands’ highest court, declared that in opposition to city policy, Airbnb hosts will need to seek operating permits.

This is in line with national housing law, of which the city’s 20,000 hosts were alleged to have been in breach.

In addition to the ruling, the court tripled the fine for not holding a permit from €6,000 to €20,500. The case focused on a host whom the city levied a €600 fine against for renting her house to five tourists, one over the city’s prior limit.

The ruling agreed that the fine was incorrectly charged because the host needed a permit to operate in the first place. The court’s argument centred on the impact on affordable housing caused by the platform, saying vacation rentals were, “withdrawing homes from the housing stock”.

Given the woman who brought the case forward was victorious, the legal status of a challenge is unclear.

Local authorities are confused as to the implications the court ruling may have on the current status of the vacation rental industry in Amsterdam. Alderman Laurens Ivens told Dutchnews.nl that “this ruling would indicate that renting an entire house out to tourists is banned”.

“The council is now studying the precise meaning,” added Ivens.

For campaigners against overtourism, the ruling is a victory, however Amsterdam has been trying to limit the impact of its enormous tourism industry on its city health.

They added a tourist tax in order to help cut some numbers, raising the total tax to ten euros early this year. Airbnb was suspended from the city’s economic board for the foreseeable future because of a failure to comply with a limit on rental days.

The company responded that the ruling was “confusing,” according to The Telegraph, and that housing laws were still unset. The company is facing challenges across the world, most recently in France and in Scotland.