The municipal council of Mýrdalshreppur, South Iceland, has banned short-term renting of apartments in Vík í Mýrdal and vicinity, RÚV reports. Ásgeir Magnússon, director of the local council, states the council has decided that from now on, all applications for converting housing into short-term rental units will be rejected. Those who already have such permits will be able to keep them until 2022, should they desire to do so.
There are lodging facilities for 1,300 people in Vík í Mýrdal, even though the population of the village is only 540. This is the highest such rate in Iceland, mbl.is reports. Most of the lodging facilities are owned by hotels, guest houses and farms, but it’s also common for private homes to be rented out to tourists for short periods of time. There are also examples of parties purchasing or building houses in the village for this purpose alone.
Ásgeir believes the community benefits very little from houses where no one resides permanently, and says there is no income from such houses except for property tax. He wants the issue to be discussed by the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities. “We also want to live here in a regular, traditional community, where the residents are locally employed and pay their dues and taxes,” Ásgeir told mbl.is.