80% of Japan’s Airbnbs Disappeared Overnight

Jun 5, 2018

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If you’re looking for an Airbnb in Japan, you may have a bit more trouble finding one. Last weekend, Airbnb removed over 40,000 Japenese listings from the homesharing site.

According to Japanese newspaper Nikkei Asian Review, the number of Airbnbs “plummeted nearly 80% to about 13,800.” Before the drastic measure, there were more than 62,000 listings in the country.

In an effort to comply with Japan’s new homesharing law that goes into effect on June 15, Airbnb decided to remove listings that didn’t have a government permit.

Until recently, homeowners were required to obtain a hotel permit or receive a certification in a special economic zone if they wanted to rent out their homes to travelers. Most hosts didn’t obtain either certifications leaving them in an ambiguous legal state.

The new law will streamline the process for acquiring a homesharing license and permits hosts to rent out their home, or a room in their home for up to 180 days per year.

Japanese authorities sent out a notification of enforcement earlier than expected prompting the rush by Airbnb to remove illegal listings. Airbnb notified homeowners over that weekend that on Monday their listings would be taken down unless they could show proper permits or registration information. Homes or rooms that were removed can be restored after hosts provide proof that their listing is up to snuff.

It still may be difficult to list a residence on Airbnb since cities have been establishing their own regulations on top of the national government’s. Some restrict the number of days a home can be listed while entire areas of towns are off limits to any sort of homesharing.

HomeAway, an Airbnb competitor owned by Expedia, will remove unregistered properties in Japan on June 15, too. Airbnb is dealing with other serious legal issues across the globe, including a lawsuit in Paris that alleges the company didn’t remove illegal listings from the website. Spain’s been cracking down on unlicensed rental homes with the government fining hosts and imposing new regulations on homesharing.

We’ve reached out to Airbnb for comment on what it plans on doing for reservations at listings that have been taken down. The company has not responded by time of publication.

H/T: Nikkei Asian Review

Featured image courtesy of Airbnb.

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