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Amsterdam enlists scrapers to check on Airbnb

March 7, 2016 Headline News, OTA News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Amsterdam city council will use digital investigation techniques including “scraping” to crackdown on illegal hotel letting run through sites like Airbnb, city authorities say.

From April, local authorities will “scrape”, or automatically collect content from, Airbnb’s booking database, Dutch News has reported. Officials are hunting landlords who no longer live in their homes, rent multiple properties to tourists, rent for over 60 days per year, or rent to more than four people at once.

Alderman for housing Laurens Ivens told Dutch News the technique represented a proactive “new and innovative method” to combat illegal housing rental.

In 2013, Amsterdam’s city council planned to halt temporary rentals altogether because the practice reduces the number of houses available for rent to locals, adding to the city’s housing shortage.

A year later, the council turned around and gave the OK to short-term rentals – as long as tourist tax was paid and the process was carried out “safely and honestly without causing nuisance”.

Debate continues about who should pay for the collection of data to check that hosts are obeying the law. Airbnb withholds its clients’ data, leaving the council to fund investigations. Measures against illegal hotels in 2015 cost Amsterdam about EUR 1 million (AUD 1.53 million).

Airbnb said in October it expected to give Amsterdam EUR 5.5 million (AUD 8.4 million) in tourist tax for last year.

Edited by Peter Needham

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