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Iceland Ready to Restrict Airbnb Rentals

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Iceland Ready to Restrict Airbnb Rentals

Reykjavík with Hallgrímskirkja in the background

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Iceland’s plan to restrict Airbnb rentals is the subject of an article in the Guardian today. The article details the explosion in tourism, which has occurred in Iceland in recent years, accompanied by large numbers of apartments being rented out on a short-term basis through the website airbnb.com.

The Guardian notes that a proposed legislation which could become law this week aims to limit the number of days people can rent out their properties through Airbnb to 90 days a year, unless they pay business tax. The new law would apply all over the country.

Figures published by the website turisti.is in January showed that the number of apartments rented out through Airbnb increased by 124% in 2015 alone. At the end of January, about 3,900 apartments or rooms were advertised on Airbnb, up from 1,700 a year earlier. By comparison, the total number of rooms at the country’s three largest hotel chains combined was about 2,800 in January this year.

The Reykjavík District Court ruled in April that in an apartment building, apartments may not be rented out without the approval of all residents of the building.

Three municipal communities, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Vík í Mýrkdal and Djúpivogur, have recently placed restrictions on short-term rentals. Vík í Mýrdal, population 540, has accommodation for 1,300 tourists.

The explosion in Airbnb rentals has resulted in housing shortages in small communities, making it hard for them to hire staff for essential positions.

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