If you like the trend of booking economical DIY holidays through ‘accommodation sharing’ websites you could soon be in for a shock, thanks to clampdowns on holiday lettings by many local authorities.
According to HouseTrip.com, an accommodation booking website with 270,000 worldwide properties and rooms available to rent, more destinations want to follow the precedent set by New York in May 2011, when it set tight controls on lettings in apartment blocks of less than 30 days.
France, Germany and Spain are all considering similar restrictions, but HouseTrip warns of a “knee-jerk reaction” to the practice of renting out secondary holiday homes. It says it could hit jobs and economies, despite there being no real evidence to suggest the system has any huge impact on long-term rentals for residents.
Studies suggest a ban of holiday rentals in Berlin could mean just 3,900 apartments being converted to long-term rental, making little dent in a city that has a growth rate of 40,000 new residents per year.
It is mostly hoteliers who have lobbied hard for a ban – although Paris hotels hit 91 per cent occupancy rates in June and September without it – because if a law goes through, options for alternative accommodation will go down and hotel prices will inevitably rise.
Ryan Levitt, communications director at HouseTrip, says: “This tightening of regulations is a real threat to many families keen to book holidays at affordable prices. Legal battles in France, Spain and Berlin could mean higher costs for owners, and less holiday accommodation.”
In addition to New York’s controls, there has also been a sharp cutback of available accommodation in the Canary Islands. The website also warns Montreal, Malta and Vancouver have all considered bans on short-term holiday rentals.
By contrast, Catalonia takes a more relaxed approach, meaning a big choice of properties still available for DIY travellers in Barcelona.
Amsterdam has also hired a ‘sharing economy’ accommodation specialist to find ways to license, regulate and tax properties that benefit both local residents and visitors alike.
HouseTrip says places like these have the right idea, and that cities trying to put in bans are ignoring that demand for the sharing economy-style accommodation is unstoppable.
Arnaud Bertrand, founder and CEO of HouseTrip, adds: “Although regulatory issues are a big challenge as cities follow New York’s lead against the sharing economy, we think demand and supply in the accommodation sharing economy is too big to stop.”