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Ixelles cracks down on Airbnb rentals that don't conform to regulations
More than 40 apartments and houses have come back onto the normal rental market in Ixelles because of an inspection of properties listed on Airbnb. The municipality checked 440 of the houses, apartments and rooms listed on the popular tourist accommodation website and found that more than half of them did not comply with regulations.
The Brussels region has notoriously strict and complicated requirements for anyone wanting to open up accommodation to tourists, whether a separate residence or part of their own home. Tourist accommodation is a regional competence, and Brussels has tougher regulations for it than Wallonia or Flanders.
In Brussels, different forms and approvals are required for different kinds of properties, depending on whether cooking is allowed, for instance. If a room is being rented in the owner’s residence, the Airbnb customer has to have access to the entire residence. Owners must provide proof of good conduct from the police, have liability insurance, proof of fire insurance and spatial planning and urban development certificates.
Safety regulations must be available to renters in English, French and Dutch. Rules also apply to the way in which toilets and rooms are kitted out, and any accommodation can only be rented for 90 days in a 12-month period. Otherwise, you are considered a professional and must have a business licence.
Finally, taxes must be paid on any income obtained from renting through Airbnb or any other accommodation platform.
That all sounds like a lot of work and expense, doesn’t it? Apparently owners listing properties on Airbnb think so because half of them aren’t adhering to the requirements.
The regional government has made the regulations strict to ensure that there are enough affordable rental properties for people who live in the city. “Ixelles is a central location and has enormous tourist potential, so it is vulnerable to this problem,” says city councillor Adrien Volant (Ecolo-Groen). Of the approximately 2,200 accommodations in Brussels offered on Airbnb, some 800 are in Ixelles.
Ixelles sent notices to owners of 76 properties telling them to get their accommodations in order or be fined. Of those, 45 gave up, taking their properties off Airbnb and putting them back on the regular rental market.
“The evolution of the figures is quite encouraging – although some owners continue to resist,” said Volant. “The challenge remains to get all these lost properties back for the people of Brussels.”
Photo courtesy Airbnb