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Brussels-City plans action against undeclared Airbnb listings
The City of Brussels is drawing up an action plan to limit the growth of undeclared Airbnb rentals in the city centre - and encourage more landlords to put their homes back on the traditional rental market.
Brussels mayor Philippe Close and city councillor for urban planning Ans Persoons announced the move on Saturday. "We do not want to have a city centre where only tourists live," Persoons said.
Airbnb has 7,400 homes listed in the Brussels region, of which 2,200 are in the City of Brussels itself. About three quarters of them are rented exclusively via Airbnb and not elsewhere.
According to Persoons, many of the Airbnb homes listed in Brussels are breaking the law because they have not been declared to the city hall and do not comply with the regulations on tourist accommodation.
"Airbnb has become a major business," said Ans Persoons, the Brussels city councillor for urban planning. "But often it is used by professionals who buy up a large number of homes and then rent them through the site."
She added: "In some areas, there are fewer and fewer apartments for rent and the balance between residents and tourists is tipped."
Earlier this year, the European Commission warned the Brussels region that its regulations on Airbnb rentals were too restrictive - echoing concerns from Airbnb itself which has described the rules as "absurdly complex".
Landlords must submit a range of documents before being allowed to rent out rooms - from the title deeds on the property to insurance papers, a criminal record check, fire safety certificate and floor plan.
The rules also require at least one unopened roll of toilet paper, a cup or glass by the bedside and that every room in the property has a main light switch located next to the door.