Italy is considering new nationwide regulations while Penang in Malaysia recently introduced a ban. Around the world, countries are cracking down on Airbnb. The popular platform, which enables people to rent out their homes or spare rooms to tourists, has been accused of inflating house prices, pushing out locals, straining resources and fuelling over-tourism.
From Europe to the US, cities have started to place restrictions on short-term rentals to counteract this. Last week, Florence in Italy announced a ban on new Airbnb listings and other short-term holiday rentals in its historic city centre. The country is now considering tightening rules nationwide.
It’s not the only destination to put its foot down. This week, the popular Malaysian island of Penang introduced a ban on Airbnb-style accommodation.
Here are all the places with bans or restrictions on short-term rentals.
Where is Airbnb banned or restricted in Europe?
France – Parisians seeking to rent their primary residence on a platform like Airbnb need to register with the local town hall. They are limited to renting their primary residence for a maximum of 120 days a year. For second homes or to rent out a property for longer than 120 days, they must officially convert it to furnished tourist accommodation. The city even has a dedicated unit to hunt down illegal rentals and fine offenders.
Germany – Berlin previously introduced a ban on Airbnb. This has now been lifted but strict rules – enforced with hefty fines – remain. Airbnb hosts in the city are required to have a permit to rent out an entire property on a short-term basis. Second homes can be rented out for a maximum of 90 days per year. In Munich, short-term rentals of entire homes are limited to eight weeks per year, after which permission must be obtained. In Stuttgart, hosts renting out more than half of their property on a short-term basis are limited to 10 weeks per year without a permit.
Italy – Florence recently joined Rome in imposing restrictions on Airbnb-style rentals. The city is set to limit new tourist accommodation in its historic centre. Venice and Milan are also debating introducing restrictions. And the trend looks set to spread. Italy’s tourism ministry has drafted a law to curb short-term holiday lets across the country. It is aimed at helping popular tourist destinations, many of which are facing housing crises and over-tourism.
Netherlands – In Amsterdam, hosts can only rent out their properties for a maximum of 30 nights per year. Anything above that requires a permit for short-term stays.
Portugal – To combat rising rental prices, Portugal has stopped issuing new licences for Airbnbs and other similar holiday lets – except in rural areas. All licences for holiday lets will now be reviewed every five years. A new system to control rental prices is also being introduced. Airbnb owners are also being offered a tax break if they convert their properties back into ordinary homes.
Spain – In 2021, Barcelona became the first European city to ban short-term private room rentals. Hosts are not permitted to rent out a room for less than 31 days. A dedicated team checks for illegal listings and has them removed. Letting out entire homes or apartments is still permitted with the appropriate licence. Palma, the popular Mallorcan capital, has banned tourist rentals in apartment buildings. Airbnb hosts can only rent out single-family homes, which must be isolated houses or villas. Valencia is currently battling with the courts to ban short-term holiday lets in its historic centre.
The UK- In London, Airbnb hosts are only allowed to rent out their property for 90 nights or fewer per year without applying for a change of use. The limits were enforced to ensure short-term rentals are sustainable and minimally disruptive in the city.
Hosts with new listings in Scotland must now obtain a licence to use a property for short-term letting before accepting any bookings.
In Edinburgh, planning permission is required to rent out a second home on Airbnb. The city’s 10-year development plan, announced in December, could allow the council to refuse short-term lets altogether in future.
In Northern Ireland, anyone providing tourist accommodation as a business – including through Airbnb – must obtain a certificate from Tourism NI.
Where is Airbnb banned or restricted in the USA and Canada?
Plagued by over-tourism and inflated house prices, Honolulu is targeting short-term holiday lets. Hawaii has cracked down on Airbnb by banning rental stays under 90 days on the island of Oahu, home to the famous Waikiki Beach. Counties on the island are also permitted to introduce their own rules for phasing out short-term rentals as of this year.
Famed as the home of Elvis Presley and the place where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, Memphis, Tennessee is a popular tourist destination. As of July 2023, new Airbnb owners in the city will need to be licensed. This entails getting at least $1 million (€930,000) in insurance coverage and having an adult on call within 80 km to respond to any violations of city ordinances, such as noise levels.
In early June, New York made headlines when Airbnb sued the city over its ‘de facto ban’ on short-term rentals. A law, set to come into force in July, places strict registration, zoning and maintenance rules on hosts, who will be required to provide proof that they live in the properties with their guests.
Palm Springs, California has capped the number of days that a property can be rented out short-term at 26 days. It has also limited such rentals to 20 per cent of homes in residential areas. Elsewhere in California, San Francisco has a 90-day rental limit and strict compliance rules for Airbnb.
Canada, too, is putting its foot down on Airbnb-style rentals. Some boroughs of Montreal, Quebec have banned new short-term lets altogether to ensure there is enough housing for residents. The maximum stay is also capped at 31 consecutive days in the state of Quebec. Vancouver, too, imposes a 30-night cap on each stay and the property must be the owner’s primary residence. In Toronto, Airbnb hosts can only welcome guests for 180 days per year.
Where is Airbnb banned or restricted in Asia and Australia?
The island of Penang, Malaysia – a popular tourist destination in the country’s northwest – introduced a ban on short-term holiday rentals in May 2023 to curb antisocial tourist behaviour.
Certain commercial properties, such as serviced apartments, can still host guests for up to three days. However, they must register with the local government, pay an annual fee, and gain approval from at least three-quarters of the people living in their building.
While Airbnb is legal in Tokyo, Japan, rules introduced in 2018 saw listings in the city plummet. Short-term rentals are limited to 180 days per year and must either have an owner living onsite or a dedicated person in charge of admin. Hosts must also collect guest data for government reporting. In certain districts, rentals are only permitted at specified times of the year.
Airbnb is not technically illegal in Singapore but restrictions mean it can’t be used for most holiday stays. The country imposes a minimum rental period of three months – or six months for government housing.
In Sydney, Australia Airbnb hosts are limited to renting out their properties for 180 days per year. Bookings above 21 consecutive days are exempted from this limit.