London is the latest city to have reached an agreement with Airbnb on limiting the sharing of private homes. The move is first and foremost designed to prevent a negative impact on the local housing market.
Airbnb announced Friday it would impose a 90-day limit on the sharing of private homes in London. The home rentals website was reacting to fears over the British capital's housing market.
"We're announcing a change to our platform that will introduce new and automated limits to help ensure entire home listings in London are not shared for more than 90 days," the San Francisco-based company said in a statement. This would apply "unless hosts confirm they have the required permission to share their space more frequently."
Airbnb had recently faced mounting criticism from municipal authorities in several cities that it contributed to worsening housing shortages on the ground.
Not everyone happy
Earlier in the week, the firm had reached a similar agreement with authorities in Amsterdam, where the company is going to limit the sharing of private homes to 60 days.
"A home should remain a home," Amsterdam councilor Laurens Ivens said while referring to the agreement as a "unique deal."
But the deals in question will hardly silence the critics of Airbnb's business model. Several cities insist the company's business lacks the legal and tax constraints of commercial enterprises and would thus enjoy an unjustified edge over its competitors.
Last week, Barcelona announced it would fine Airbnb and its rival HomeAway 600,000 euros ($635,000) each for marketing lodgings that lacked proper tourist permits.
hg/uhe (AFP, Reuters)