AirBnB has become the go-to platform for those looking for more personalized stays when traveling.
Whether it’s cozy apartments with a homely atmosphere you won’t find easily in hotels, or once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as staying in treehouses or castles, travelers have always had a myriad of options to choose from.
On the other hand, the popularization of AirBnB has done some cities no favors, as they battle overtourism and struggle to adapt to an ever-evolving hospitality sector.
While some local governments have started cracking down on what used to be a relatively free market, limiting listings or increasing taxes for both hosts and guests, others have forbidden AirBnB entirely, suggesting nowhere is safe from more restrictive regulations.
Here, you will find 10 cities where finding an AirBnB may be more challenging than it was before, and what to expect when looking for stays in those destinations:
Santa Monica, CA
Beachgoers on a budget may want to reconsider their sunny break in Santa Monica, as the Californian hotspot applies some of the strictest rules on this list.
When guests are staying for less than 30 days, hosts are forbidden from renting out a whole apartment, meaning short-term visitors will either have to settle for a private room in someone’s house, or book a hotel room instead.
On top of that, hosts must apply for a business license, incurring a 14% ‘Transient Occupancy Tax’ and other nightly fees for short-term stays, making them even costlier.
These laws, which have been dubbed Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance, had come into effect in as early as June 2015, but have been tightened as of September 2019.
New York City, NY
Another hugely popular destination for both Americans and foreigners, New York City has recently enacted laws that affects a majority of AirBnB owners and their ability to host.
The laws are notably extensive, but one entry that will surely impact tourists is the prohibition of ‘Class A’ listings for fewer than 30 days when the host is not present in the property, much like Santa Monica.
While digital nomads looking to make New York their temporary home will not feel the sting, those visiting the Big Apple over the weekend may find short-term rentals have become fewer and more expensive.
Besides the minimum time required, hosts are now subject to multiple taxes on tourist stays, which inevitably increase costs for overnight stays. The measure has been noted to cap New York’s once vast AirBnB offers.
Among other requirements is the mandatory data-sharing‘: as of 2021, hosts who do not share their personal data with the City, or do not disclose AirBnB payments are also not allowed to rent properties for less than 30 days.
Jersey City, NJ
If you thought the work-around to finding a place near New York City was to try Jersey, guess again. Jersey City has also restricted the availability of short-term rentals. After residents voiced concerns over rising rents and a majority voted in favor to limit listings in the area, the city now requires owners to live in the listed property.
There have also been restrictions on building owners, who are now only allowed to advertise up to two additional flats in the same building on AirBnB, while also being required to reside in the location.
Those eligible to host short-term visitors – for stays under 28 nights in a row – must register with the City and satisfy all other requirements, drastically reducing offers within the city’s boundaries.
Charleston, SC is another U.S. city restricting short-term AirBnB rentals. Under the Short Term Rental regulations, hosts must have their AirBnB listing as their ‘full-time primary residence’.
This means guests may have a hard time trying to find entire homes to fulfill their stays, especially after the city classified properties based on their location.
Besides being the host’s home, having emergency access, and providing ‘at least one additional off-street parking space’, Category I properties, which are located in the Historic District, must also be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, adding to the woes of bureaucracy-wary hosts.
When staying outside the Old Town, for example, especially in ‘Category III’ areas, travelers will not find an abundance of AirBnBs, as only select properties are eligible for short-term renting.
Parking requirements must be met by all categories, further limiting Charleston’s capacity to host AirBnB members.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The capital of the Netherlands is determined to disperse the crowds of tourists. Besides removing the iconic ‘I AMsterdam’ sign in 2018 once it became a selfie hotspot, and recently banning tourists from certain coffee shops, the city has also set out strict rules the AirBnB community must meet.
Travelers can now expect to find fewer homes available as Amsterdam limits bookings for entire apartments and houses to 60 nights every year. Even though rooms in privately-owned properties have not been affected, those traveling with friends or family might have to plan months in advance as entire homes become scarce.
Guests are also subject to a 10% tax as part of their reservation, which is generally included in the price breakdown upon booking.
A favorite among adventure seekers, Thailand is yet to open up to the AirBnB community, not only discouraging but considering the practice illegal across the whole country, including in its capital Bangkok.
Although risk-takers may still be able to find AirBnB listings around Thailand, as law enforcement does not appear to be strict and several owners have properties available, renting on the platform is a criminal offense nonetheless.
As Thailand currently has some of the strictest Covid entry regulations in Asia, and tourists are required to present a number of documents when crossing the border, which may include hotel reservations, travelers are advised to comply with the law and book their stays through licensed accommodation providers.
San Francisco, CA
Despite being AirBnB’s birthplace, San Francisco has moved to curb short-term rental offers in the city, requiring hosts to live in their listing for at least 275 days a year.
Although there are no limits on short-term rentals when hosts are on site, this means guests would only be allowed to rent the whole property for the 90 days their host is absent during the calendar year.
With that in mind, San Francisco-bound travelers are advised to time their stay if booking a whole apartment or house is absolutely necessary.
AirBnBs have been subject to stricter regulations in Iceland as of 2017, as guests are only allowed to stay up to 30 days at a time in the same location, while hosts can only rent out their properties for 90 days in total every year.
The rules have clearly affected stays in the country’s capital, Reykjavik, which is considerably small by European standards and cannot host a large number of guests. In Summer 2016, the whole of Iceland was even reportedly ‘sold out’.
As the country fully removes all Covid entry regulations, visitors are encouraged to book ahead of time while eligible AirBnB listings are still available.
In the heart of Europe, Paris has been taking drastic measures to tackle housing shortages across the capital, including targeting AirBnB hosts. More specifically, city authorities have recently determined tax registration is mandatory for owners listing their primary residences on the platform, which can only be rented for up to 120 days a year.
As for second homes listed on AirBnB, owners must apply for a permit to rent them on the platform, as well as buying another commercial property ‘of an equivalent or bigger size’, to be converted into housing as means of compensation, further discouraging the practice.
More worryingly for AirBnB enthusiasts, the Mayor of Paris has also advocated for even stricter regulations on short-term stays, promising a referendum on the status of the platform in Paris.
This month, travelers have also been reminded they may need proof of €100 in available funds per day when visiting France. Coupled with the higher cost of short-term rentals, travelers may want to watch their budget closely while on a romantic holiday in Paris.
The leading tourist destination in Spain’s historical Catalonia region is now capping short-term private room rentals, as hosts like Lucas Ezequiel Hernández decide to remove their listings altogether in order to avoid potential legal imbroglios.
Travelers may still rent entire apartments, but those on a stricter budget who would normally opt for a private room or shared dormitory in a local resident’s house might have to look elsewhere for more affordable stays, as those become fewer by the day.
Hosts are also required to obtain a certificate of occupancy and pass inspection, while guests are subject to higher tourist taxes. These measures are a direct response to overtourism, as prior to Covid, the city hosted 32 million visitors.
Despite recent challenges, including the Covid pandemic and changes to property laws, AirBnB continues to grow among vacationers, adding fuel to the discussion, especially in cities where the platform has already been curtailed, such as Honolulu.
As demand for travel slowly returns to pre-pandemic levels, we expect more destinations that have historically combatted an excess in tourism to strengthen their short-term rental laws.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories