​Airbnb cracks down on rentals in London, Amsterdam

Making nice with regulators, the home-rental site limits the number of days people can rent out their pads. Is this a sign of times to come?

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Airbnb limits rentals in London and Amsterdam.

Photo by Airbnb

Airbnb just laid down the law in London and Amsterdam.

After years of battling regulators, the home-rental site said Thursday it was enforcing a limit on the amount of days people can rent their homes on Airbnb in those popular cities.

In London, Airbnb is limiting rentals to 90 days per calendar year. In Amsterdam, the limit will be 60 days per year. People may rent their entire home for more days a year if they get licenses from the cities.

"The new measures are an example to the world and demonstrate the positive results that can be achieved when policymakers and Airbnb work together," James McClure, Airbnb general manager for Northern Europe, said in a statement.

Airbnb has faced lawsuits and strict regulations in major cities, like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Barcelona and Paris. The company's move to limit rentals in London and Amsterdam may be a sign of the times to come as it works to make nice with regulators worldwide.

Earlier this week, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors finalized a bill limiting Airbnb rentals to 60 days per calendar year. The city's mayor, Ed Lee, has the option to veto this bill. New York passed a law in June that banned most short-term rentals.

Airbnb threatened both cities with lawsuits earlier this year, but the company appears to be softening its approach and is now negotiating with legislators.

Lawmakers and housing advocates around the globe have criticized Airbnb for reportedly contributing to higher rents and housing crunches. They say the home-rental site allows landlords to take units off the market and capitalize on short-term leasing. A cap on short-term rentals could encourage landlords to offer more long-term leases.

For London, Airbnb says a "typical" host currently rents out their space for 50 nights per year earning 3,500 Pounds, or roughly $4,400, annually. In Amsterdam, a "typical" host rents their home for 28 nights a year and earns 3,800 Euros, or about $4,050, annually. Both cities are top markets for Airbnb.

"A home should remain a home," Laurens Ivens, Amsterdam's council member responsible for housing, said in a statement. "With this new approach we are showing that working together with platforms such as Airbnb gives the city a new and efficient weapon to tackle illegal hotels."

Airbnb said it will implement the rental caps in both cities in the beginning of next year.

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