The battle that the municipality of Amsterdam is waging against the unbridled growth in the supply of private holiday accommodation continues unabated. After it was announced earlier this year that holiday rentals via sites such as AirBnB and Booking.com will be reduced to a maximum of 30 days, the Bed & Breakfasts are now also being tackled. The intention is to introduce a licensing requirement for Bed & Breakfasts as of 1 January 2019. What are the consequences?
Wild growth of Bed & Breakfasts
It was to be expected. Since the city of Amsterdam has imposed increasingly strict regulations on vacation rentals on sites like Airbnb, Wimdu, and Booking.com, several vacation rentals have resorted to setting up B&Bs. While a B&B owner is only allowed to make a maximum of 40% of his property available, the owner is not limited to only 60 (and next year 30) rental days per year as in the case of regular vacation rentals. In short, if a holiday home owner runs a B&B, he can receive guests throughout the year. The fact that more and more holiday home owners are therefore using a B&B construction is a thorn in the side of the municipality now that its policy was precisely aimed at curbing holiday rentals.
In order to cope with the proliferation of B&Bs, the municipality now intends to make this permit compulsory. Until now, it was only necessary to apply with the intention of starting a B&B where it was checked whether they complied with the rules. If the obligation to obtain a permit becomes effective, this will change and the municipality has the possibility to refuse an applicant a permit. The municipality has announced that it will check the number of B&Bs already present in the area when the licence is granted. The municipality will set a maximum number of B&Bs for each area. If that number has already been reached, the permit will be refused. It is therefore expected that it will be very difficult to start another B&B in the centre of Amsterdam after 1 January 2019.
Consequences for existing Bed & Breakfasts
The municipality has announced that there will be a transitional arrangement for existing B&Bs, but the content of this transitional arrangement is not yet known. Operators of existing B&Bs will also have to apply for a permit, but it is possible that they will not be bound by the maximum permitted number per area. It is also possible that the municipality will base the maximum number of B&Bs per area for the city centre and surrounding areas on the current number. This has the advantage that no distinction needs to be made between the permits granted. However, it would limit the possibilities of reducing the current number of B&Bs if the municipality so wishes.
In either case, the obligation to obtain a permit would give the municipality an important weapon in the event that a B&B does not comply with the rules. After all, in addition to the fines that the municipality already regularly imposes in this sector, it will also have the opportunity to revoke the licence, which would then lead to the closure of the B&B. In short, the possible consequences for breaking the rules become even greater with the advent of the permit requirement.
Do you run your own Bed & Breakfast, or do you have a tenant who does, and do you have any questions? Please feel free to contact us.
Lawyer Ginio Beij (firstname.lastname@example.org)