AMSTERDAM – Amsterdam, in the midst of an unprecedented tourism slump caused by restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, announced Thursday that it is planning to ban people from renting out homes to visitors in three historic downtown neighborhoods.
The move, which is set to come into force July 1, is the Dutch capital's latest attempt to rein in people renting their homes out on platforms like Airbnb amid complaints from residents that tourists are spoiling their quality of life.
It goes hand-in-hand with a system coming into force July 1 in Amsterdam that will mean anybody renting out their home in the city will have to have a permit. City Hall will not be issuing permits for the three neighborhoods covered by the ban.
In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, Airbnb said 95% of its listings in Amsterdam are outside the areas covered by the ban, and added that the company already has introduced tools to tackle noise and nuisance.
"We remain eager to work with Amsterdam to support long-term solutions on home sharing — rather than short-term fixes that are confusing and damaging for residents and small businesses in these challenging times,” Airbnb said.
Amsterdam has, in recent years, tightened rules for people renting out their homes, including limiting owners to a maximum of 30 nights a year and to a maximum of four guests on any given night.
The city's district of picturesque canals and cobbled lanes is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has been swamped by tourists in recent years, leading to a rising chorus of complaints from local residents.
However, coronavirus restrictions have seen an unusual quiet descend on the city in recent weeks. Streets often choked with tourists are now largely deserted.