The new relationship shifts some of the responsibility of informing and educating hosts to Airbnb, which can use its platform to ensure they comply. This is a model that will likely be copied in other markets looking to legitimize the short-term rental economy.
Amsterdam was lauded as an innovator among sharing economy enthusiasts in February when it became one of the first cities to create a new category of accommodation, which made it legal for city residents to occasionally rent their homes to tourists.
Several rules applied to hosts: Residents could only rent the home they live in, they must own the space or have permission from their landlord, and they must pay tax on the income made from the short-term rentals.
Today the city and Airbnb announced plans to work closer together to inform hosts and collect taxes.
The most significant part of the partnership is Airbnb’s plans to collect and remit tourist tax on behalf of hosts starting in February 2015. This is a first for the company in Europe.
Offering to collect taxes is one of Airbnb’s prime strategies for appeasing regulators, calming investors and keeping users happy. In April, Airbnb offered to collect taxes in New York City, its largest U.S market, and has recently begun collecting taxes in San Francisco and Portland. Airbnb is also close to securing a deal to collect and remit taxes in Chicago.
The second big change in Airbnb’s relationship with Amsterdam is that it will now also communicate the city’s home sharing rules with guests.
In addition to a city webpage outlining rules and information for potential hosts, Airbnb will also display a summary of rules that hosts must read through before posting a listing as well as send email updates to hosts twice a year.
Photo credit: Row houses along the canal in Amsterdam. Andrés Nieto Porras / Flickr