Airbnb Rentals Are Facing Crackdowns Globally & Here's What It Could Mean For Your Next Trip

Some spots have pretty strict rules!

Someone using Airbnb on their phone. Right: A taxi in London.

Someone using Airbnb on their phone. Right: A taxi in London.

Airbnb has been a game-changer when it comes to finding accommodation for trips, but some cities have been introducing stricter rules – or even outright bans – on short-term rentals.

Many travellers wouldn't think twice about looking at Airbnb for alternative accommodation to hotels and resorts, with hosts around the world renting out entire properties or rooms in their homes to tourists.

According to Airbnb, the unique stays offered through the platform allow guests to "connect with communities in a more authentic way."

However, short-term rentals aren't free from problems. Many cities around the world are starting to crack down on short-term rentals booked through platforms such as Airbnb over concerns about their impact on the housing market or the behaviour of tourists.

But with cities changing legislation on short-term rentals, here's what travellers need to know about booking Airbnbs or short-term rentals around the world.

Which cities have cracked down on Airbnbs?

A lot of cities around the world are faced with issues such as the low supply of housing and increasing rental costs for their residents, with some going as far as to partially blame short-term rentals for these issues.

Some of the strictest rules have come into effect in New York. Earlier this month, a new law was introduced in New York City, largely banning short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb over concerns that it was driving demand for housing, according to The Guardian.

Under the new rules, rentals of under 30 days are allowed provided the hosts have registered with the city, but they must also be physically present in their home for the duration of the rental. They also aren't allowed more than two guests staying at the property at one time.

According to The Guardian, Airbnb had as many as 38,500 non-hotel listings in New York City in January 2023.

Meanwhile, in Florence, concerns about over-tourism have led the city to announce plans to ban new short-term rentals in its historical city centre, Centro Storico, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In a statement provided to CNN, Florence's Mayor Dario Nardella said the legislation was aimed at tackling “an emergency situation of total deregulation."

According to figures from the city council, 75% of Florence’s short-term rentals are found in the Centro Storico, which makes up just 5% of the municipality.

“We are putting a simple ban in the UNESCO area to meet our responsibilities of protecting the cultural and material identity of the Centro Storico, and to dampen the effect of rent increases across the entire city – which are directly linked to the boom of short-term tourist rentals," he added.

Other cities around the world, including London, Amsterdam, and Paris, have all taken measures to limit the number of days of the year properties can be rented out as short-term rentals in a bid to combat rising rents, according to EuroNews.

However, some tourist spots have opted for even harsher rules, such as outright bans on rentals, to deal with issues.

Earlier this year, the island of Penang in Malaysia introduced a ban on short-term rentals in residential areas, according to Free Malaysia Today.

What do new rules on short-term rentals mean for travellers?

While rules on Airbnb and other short-term rentals around the world are in place to help address specific issues, rules will also impact tourists looking to travel in the future.

Speaking to Narcity, Nathan Rotman, Airbnb's regional lead for North America and Canada, said cities all face different challenges when it comes to short-term rentals, from housing to nuisances such as noise.

"They're looking for any solution they can find to the problem," he said, adding that while Airbnb isn't opposed to regulation, not all policies are created equally.

"There are some that actually make sense for our community, and there's something that goes a few steps too far," he said.

"New York's a really good example where they just restricted us so significantly that we still call it a 'de facto ban.'"

Rotman argued that there aren't enough short-term rentals in destinations to significantly impact the housing market.

However, he said strict rules on short-term rentals like those introduced in New York could impact hosts who rent out parts of their homes as a means of extra income.

"When people are regulating away the ability of someone to rent out their basement that they use... that's a step too far and it's not going to actually solve a housing problem. It's going to hurt someone's ability to afford to live in their home," he said.

As a result of restrictions on short-term rentals like those introduced in New York City, prices for accommodation are likely to rise as there's limited supply, Rotman explained.

"When you limit supply to that degree, you're going to limit your tourism. The more expensive these properties will continue to get because of limited supply, the worse it's going to be for the local economy," he said.

In the case of New York, where the number of guests allowed to stay at registered properties has been capped, Rotman said it's going to cause issues for families looking to travel together.

"If it's a family of four going to New York City, they now have to book two hotel rooms or a hotel room that's large enough, instead of an apartment in Brooklyn that they could have potentially gotten at a much more reasonable price," he said.

As well as increased costs for accommodation, Rotman added there could be safety concerns as the market for short-term rentals could potentially go underground to platforms like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

"Airbnb provides a lot of safety. From insurance, two-way reviews and access to law enforcement in case of a terrible incident. There's also a neighbour tool if there is too much noise," he said.

"But when it goes to Craigslist, when it goes to Facebook Marketplace, it's a very different environment, and over-regulation can lead people to do things that are unregulated and costly," he said.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Charlie Hart
Charlie Hart was a Travel Creator for Narcity Media focused on Canadian and global travel and is based in Calgary, Alberta.