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Japan latest battleground in Airbnb home-sharing war

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By Daniel Leussink

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Good to see the laws being enforced in Japan. Airbnb should be against the law in most areas.

My neighbors and I worked hard to be able to afford an apartment in a building zoned exclusively for residential use. Somebody can't just decide to start operating a commercial hotel business to the detriment of everyone else. If they want approval, they can apply to have the zoning laws changed after the local residents are given an opportunity to argue for or against the proposal. It's simply democracy and the rule of law.

-24 ( +6 / -30 )

When you consider that there are hundreds of thousands of empty homes in Japan and that many of them have the potential to become nice AirBnB rentals... yes, it could be a problem for most Hotels and other types of establishments in Japan. However, there is also a percentage of people that want to live like a local, myself included. When I travel I prefer to live in that location for at least 3 to 4 weeks. I don't want to run around every minute trying to see the sights, I want to get a feel for what it is like to live there and for those reasons AirBnB is a Godsend. Locals need to realize that money is going into their local economy and that they have nothing to fear. AirBnB is fantastic.... I could see possibly making the minimum stay at least 1 or 2 weeks.... but beyond that it would just be another example of Big Business crushing the small entrepreneur. In addition, allowing for AirBnB to operate would also open up a large amount of business opportunities at local small Real Estate Agent companies. They could act as go between's for cleaning and maintenance of said homes. Also, it could fuel a small construction boom as people fix up their unused homes in order to rent them out. It would be such a wast if the Government shut this business down.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

It's simply democracy and the rule of law.

Ah but here is the fault in your logic. If you believe in democracy then by all rights I should be able to use my property as I see fit. How is ArBnb any different than a parent having their child pay room and board? If I want to allow people to come and stay at my home and charge them a small fee, to assist with covering the added expenses, electric, water, etc etc, I should by all rights, under a democracy, to do so.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

The Government is basically printing Y28 Trillion as its newest stimulus package.... I think they should earmark Y5 Trillion to be used as potential loans for owners of all the Vacant Homes around Japan. Basically, a Vacant Home owner would contact a construction company to get bids to fix the house up and either sell it or rent it out. Many of these owners, if they're unable to sell the property could set it up on AirBnB. The Government has been throwing Trillions of Yen at its cronies for decades.... they should throw some towards the people and this would help vastly at local levels to put people to work and clean up their towns and villages. But this makes too much sense.... never happen.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

She was later threatened with a 30,000 yen ($280) fine or six months in jail if she kept renting.

Assuming the 30,000 yen fine is a one-off, and that the courts would virtually never tie up scarce and costly jail space for a non-violent misdemeanor, I think most BnB renters would opt to pay the fine and stay in business. Slap on the wrist.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Yubaru

If you believe in democracy then by all rights I should be able to use my property as I see fit.

No. By definition, democracy involves members of the 'demos' (society) drawing up rules that all members of society agree to be bound by, even if those rules curtail the free enjoyment of private property. I think you are conflating absolute freedom and democracy.

By moving into our city, you implicitly agreed not to operate a commercial hotel business on property that the majority of us have agreed will only be used as a private residence, or suffer the agreed upon punishment for breaking the rules.

How is ArBnb any different than a parent having their child pay room and board? If I want to allow people to come and stay at my home and charge them a small fee, to assist with covering the added expenses, electric, water, etc etc, I should by all rights, under a democracy, to do so.

These are all perfectly legal. The difference comes down to the definition of a business which, usually involves the intention of making a profit. Your city will probably follow the National Tax Agency's definition of a business for tax purposes. There is obviously a degree of subjectivity in what is or isn't a business, but providing accommodation to strangers at a profit is clearly a business. Unless you are able to convince society to change the rules, you can only do it in an area that we have all agreed will be reserved for hotel/business use.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

A one or two room "hotel" is to the detriment of everybody else?

My, how pretentious are you?

17 ( +20 / -3 )

They said some of the neighbors had commented that many foreigners were coming to our house.”

This is a key point. They are happy to have foreigners spending money in Japan but they don't want them invading their neighborhoods.

29 ( +29 / -0 )

Normally, I am against heavy government regulations, they are a pointless burden on people and the economy. But the people here supporting Air BnB have not addressed the very real concerns of neighbors, who have every right to expect some standards of safety, security, cleanliness and privacy in their neighborhood.

We pay a lot of money to live in a residential area where we know the neighbors and the kids can feel safe. A weekly mansion opened nearby a couple years back, and there were a lot of protests. It would be even worse if they went air bnb. Suddenly the quiet neighborhood would have strange faces daily, unknown people who have no investment in the neighborhood and little incentive to keep it clean, safe or reasonably quiet. Here today, gone tomorrow. This is fine in a designated commercial area, but is destructive in a residential area.

Why should I surrender the security and safety of my family's neighborhood so some unknown person can amuse themselves by "getting a feel for what it is like to live" here? If they are really interested in that, then properly rent a flat like everyone else.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

I am hoping to get 2-3 people for the Olympics, but I will find the renters myself. No reason to use a middle man.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Yubaru,

I should by all rights, under a democracy, to do so.

I think you're confusing democracy with Free Enterprise. Democracy means people vote on certain laws and regulations. In the case of the residence-only building, the residents have voted (by paying money) to prohibit businesses. In a Free Enterprise system, the residents have no voice in how someone uses their own property.

I think if the majority of property owners want to prohibit business in a residential neighborhood, then businesses should be prohibited. That includes Eikaiwa schools, self-employed home offices, and renting rooms to tourists.

I do not think renting rooms out should be prohibited based on Too many Foreigners. Too many Strangers (Japanese or not — as mentioned by commanteer) is a better reason; in fact, many posters are saying they're concerned about Safety and in Japan most crimes are committed by Japanese.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

“They said some of the neighbors had commented that many foreigners were coming to our house.”

And this is a country that is going to host the Olympics in four years time. Oh dear, how is this poor country going to cope in 2020? Kawaisou.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

“They said some of the neighbors had commented that many foreigners were coming to our house.” And this is a country that is going to host the Olympics in four years time. Oh dear, how is this poor country going to cope in 2020? Kawaisou.

You are reading too much into that. Foreigners, especially foreigners toting luggage or backpacks, stand out more. In my experience, residents wouldn't want a lot of unknown Japanese visitors in their neighborhoods either.

There may be some foreign-phobia in Japan, but the comment you quoted is not an indication of it.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Suddenly the quiet neighborhood would have strange faces daily, unknown people who have no investment in the neighborhood and little incentive to keep it clean, safe or reasonably quiet. Here today, gone tomorrow. This is fine in a designated commercial area, but is destructive in a residential area.

Not at all. Such reasoning is utterly flawed--like believing there are monsters in the closet or under the bed. I have stayed in quiet neighbourhoods with Airbnb numerous times. Although I am unknown to the hosts and the neighbours I have kept it clean, safe and quiet because I am a considerate and respectful person. Yes, sometimes I may have stayed only 3 or 4 days (here today gone tomorrow), but my behavior was anything but destructive.

For the opportunity to live like a local in various charming neighbourhoods, I have added to the local economy by using taxis and public transportation, attending a wide range of live cultural events, visiting historical sights and museums, spending a great deal of money enjoying the cuisines and wines of the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. I do have an investment in the neighbourhood as I want to have a very good time while I am there.

Alas, I cannot change the fact that I am a foreigner. Yes, to some my face may be strange. But why should people find it acceptable to let their prejudices and fears make me an undesirable? It's very short-sighted and inhospitable of them.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

...if someone knocks on your door, do not say it’s an Airbnb—say you are staying with your friend,”

Perfect solution. Japan is, after all, the nation of loopholes to get around following laws! Long live Airbnb!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

But why should people find it acceptable to let their prejudices and fears make me an undesirable?

Because they have passed a law that restricts short term rentals in their residential neighborhoods, in accordance with their rights. They are not obliged to provide you with any mutually agreeable justification, and you cannot simply ignore their laws whenever you disagree with them. End of story.

It's truly ironic that the very same people who want to 'experience living as a local' are the very first people to disrespect and ignore the local rules. For this reason alone all Airbnb users in Japan are, by definition, undesirable and unwelcome visitors.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

The last thing we want is a bunch of ignorant self-important bureaucrats telling us what we can or can't do with our own property.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Some very well written and thoughtful comments going on here on both sides of the argument. I am learning a lot.

Regardless of which side we stand on, many industries are going to be disrupted by equivalents of Uber and Airbnb in coming years. It will be interesting to watch.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think there are two types of Airbnb to consider and we will probably see the Government make a distinction between them soon;

a) Rent a spare room out in your house or apartment. b) Rent out a whole apartment.

The problem is in the second type and I suspect that will be banned and subject to heavy fines, and it makes perfect sense it should be. The first I suspect will be allowed with some minimum standard requirements.

If as a home owner you welcome guests into a spare room, then you assume the risks and responsibility yourself, and hopefully you can manage the impact any misbehaving guests have. If you rent out a whole apartment and give away the communal door lock security code while not being there, you basically expose all the homeowners in the block and surrounding area to whatever your unknown guests please to inflict on them for the few nights they are there. They, and any associates, will then have access anytime they please to the whole block until the code is changed, which is totally unacceptable.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The govt should step in & implement easy reasonable rules so anyone can easily rent a room or two to make a couple bucks for themselves. Limit the number of rooms/guests so these business stay SMALL.

As for neighbours, sorry but screw them. I am sick of 2 decades of witnessing extreme pettiness of ""neighbours""!

This isn't rocket science folks, Japanese have traveled to NAmerica & Europe & stay in B&Bs & LOVE THEM.

Japan is too bloody uptight. A little home operation will cause next to NO HARM for hotels so they can get stuffed too imo!

This blubbering on about noise, garbage etc is just BS typical J-hysteria.

I have people visit my place in the sticks, friends relatives etc, all the time here, now its free I don't charge, but I ensure the local ramen joint 3minutes walk away LOVES it when I show up with 2-3 people, GOOD BUSINESS & its fun.

Nothing to fear in all this, come let this happen, it aint rocket science!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I will find the renters myself. No reason to use a middle man.

No? How about the middle man advertises your place to thousands of people. They offer you some degree of insurance and all for a very small fee!

There are other perfectly legal loopholes to take advantage of people. Register your place as a ryokan. It's not always possible, but once it's done, you can just show your certificate to anyone who comes nosing around. I haven't done it myself, but I'm about to, just to avoid any possible complications.

Still, I live in an area with very accepting neighbors and I don't see anyone "ratting me out" as there are no problems with my guests and my neighbors.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We have all kinds of problems with noise and antisocial behaviour around our house. They are all Japanese idiots causing the problems. We call the police almost weekly. They do nothing.

We also do Airbnb. None of our guests have disturbed anyone by even the smallest degree.

There is a lot of hot air in this thread, some of it ironically smelling of racism--and all of it from people, as usual, with zero personal experience.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

But the people here supporting Air BnB have not addressed the very real concerns of neighbors, who have every right to expect some standards of safety, security, cleanliness and privacy in their neighborhood.

Geez, what about the Kumon, Sorobon, Shuji, Karate, Judo, Boxing, or any other type of small business that opens in the neighborhood? No one says crap, and there are probably hundreds of MORE people going to those places than a few tourists staying for a short time.

People are afraid of the foreigners, as the concept for Japanese is not something they are accustomed to and they are just being xenophobic and some maybe racist.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

First I think year-long tenants can be as noisy/disruptive/dirty as temporary airbnb residents. Secondly people should be able to do what they want with their property.

Having said that i think property owners who choose to rent a room, flat etc via airbnb or any similar site should have to pay some kind of tax (same with uber).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“They said some of the neighbors had commented that many foreigners were coming to our house.”

Yep, ready and waiting for the Olympics, no doubt about it

2 ( +3 / -1 )

hey're concerned about Safety and in Japan most crimes are committed by Japanese.

THey are only concerned about safety because media told them to. If the media tells them that it's safe they will believe that too. I recently sold some beach front property to one as well. Interested?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm presently living in an Airbnb in Taipei. I pay monthly rent and have been here for three months. Before that I lived in an Airbnb in Bangkok for four months, before that I was in one in Taipei for two months, and before that I was in Seoul for two months (at a few different AirBnbs). In cases like mine, Airbnb is not competing with hotels, but with estate agents - but is far more flexible. In Seoul it is simply impossible to rent an apartment by the month without an enormous deposit (as in at least half a year's rent); in Bangkok, condo buildings usually have 6-month minimum contracts; in Taipei, 12-month minimums are common. Airbnb offers a fantastic middle ground; it's a bit more expensive than renting the old-fashioned way, but I'm paying for the short-term flexibility.

"They said some of the neighbors had commented that many foreigners were coming to our house.”

Is the problem that they are renting a room in a house, or that they are foreigners?!

Airbnb and its rivals are part and parcel of modern tourism; friends of mine visited Taipei last weekend (from Tokyo) and stayed at an Airbnb. With the Olympics coming, I think Japan would be daft to clamp down on Airbnb rentals, especially given that it looks like they won't have enough hotel beds available for the targeted visitor numbers.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The government just clarify/revise and then actually enforce an appropriate set of rules.

I've always disliked the way AirBNB encourages people to skirt/ignore the rule of law, but as it has clear benefits and is not about to cause the dissolution of society, I'd be okay with seeing it legalised. Until then, if the renters are committing an offence by letting tourists stay, and neighbours are complaining, then the rentals need to stop.

I've used an AirBNB once, in Hiroshima, and the place, a large house on the hillside facing Miyajima, really was full of foreigners coming and going at random hours. I think that I, and everyone else there at the time, were well behaved, but it was pretty clear that the owner was running a full-on guesthouse in an extremely quiet neighbourhood rather than just renting out an unused room or two. I don't see any real reason why such an operation shouldn't be subject to standard rules and regulations. 'It's cheaper' is good for my wallet of course, but still not much of a justification in a broader sense.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Ha Ha, youn know you're in Japan when you read, 'although enforcement can be patchy'

I hope this doesn't become an enforced law any time soon - we have 5 weeks in Tokyo booked with AirBnB for October!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Kumon, Sorobon, Shuji, Karate, Judo, Boxing, or any other type of small business that opens in the neighborhood

Which are located in commercial areas where there is more foot traffic not in residential neighborhoods.

Although ABB provides alternative travel accommodations, it also increases transient activity in neighborhoods that arent accustomed to such traffic nor designed for it.

No one wants their neighborhood swarmed by strangers unaccustomed to local laws and that have little regard for others privacy, peace and quiet.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

No one wants their neighborhood swarmed by strangers unaccustomed to local laws and that have little regard for others privacy, peace and quiet.

Sorry I call BS!! How come so many places have had B&Bs for decades well before Air B&B started & it goes on with no hullaballoo ....... or is Japan just overly anal............ I know the answer is yes for many, but its pathetic people cant allow others to make a few $$ because of their own selfishness, its called WAGAMAMA!!!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

M3M3:

" Somebody can't just decide to start operating a commercial hotel "

Some P2P internet arrangement is a "commercial hotel"?? Seriously?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think you're confusing democracy with Free Enterprise. Democracy means people vote on certain laws and regulations. In the case of the residence-only building, the residents have voted (by paying money) to prohibit businesses. In a Free Enterprise system, the residents have no voice in how someone uses their own property.

What is a 'Free Enterprise' Free enterprise, or the free market, refers to the summary or conglomeration of all voluntary business activities in a given economic area. Alternatively, free enterprise could refer to an ideological or legal system of organization, in which commercial activities are primarily regulated through private measures rather than by political means.

Which is not covered in these cases as the government is getting involved in making rules and guidelines to control these small business owners.

In principle and practice, free markets are defined by private property rights, voluntary contracts and competitive bidding for goods and services in the marketplace. This is held in contrast to public ownership of property, coercive activity and fixed or controlled distribution of goods and services.

Which means that I have rights as an owner, but the two are connected as without the democracy there would probably be no free enterprise either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As is with anything and possibly more so with Japan.... since it it about 97% Japanese, change takes time and it takes time to get used to change. Don't shut down a great opportunity for the country based on fear and ignorance. It is such a beautiful country with an amazing culture, it should be shared not horded.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Every time there's Olympics, people leave the hassle and traffic of the Olympic city and rent out their homes to visitors who actually want to be there. So Tokyo better be prepared for it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@WilliB

Some P2P internet arrangement is a "commercial hotel"?? Seriously

Yup. Here is a pretty good article explaining the current and possible future legal status of AirBnB in Japan.

http://resources.realestate.co.jp/news/japanese-govt-releases-details-law-airbnb-style-rentals/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good point raised by DiscoJ:

I've used an AirBNB once, in Hiroshima, and the place, a large house on the hillside facing Miyajima, really was full of foreigners coming and going at random hours. I think that I, and everyone else there at the time, were well behaved, but it was pretty clear that the owner was running a full-on guesthouse in an extremely quiet neighbourhood rather than just renting out an unused room or two

Airbnb is used in a variety of ways. Some use it to rent out their spare room for a little extra cash; some have entire portfolios of private apartments they rent by the day or month as a full time business; some use it as an additional way to advertise their already existing (and legit) guest houses; and some are basically running unlicensed guest houses. The latter group is a problem for sure, but to stop all the others would be to fail to grasp the 21st century.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But why should people find it acceptable to let their prejudices and fears make me an undesirable?

Because they have passed a law that restricts short term rentals in their residential neighborhoods, in accordance with their rights. They are not obliged to provide you with any mutually agreeable justification, and you cannot simply ignore their laws whenever you disagree with them. End of story.

It's truly ironic that the very same people who want to 'experience living as a local' are the very first people to disrespect and ignore the local rules. For this reason alone all Airbnb users in Japan are, by definition, undesirable and unwelcome visitors.

With all due respect, as an "undesirable/unwelcome Airbnb user," I must disagree with you. I am not responsible for a Japanese resident breaking any loosely enforced laws any more than I am responsible for cyclists flouting the law when I am on the sidewalk. What is done all the time and not enforced is not my domain.

I respectfully suggest that those laws which allow unwarranted racism and prejudice to flourish need to be struck down. Enlightened societies regularly review and revise their laws. Why not Japan?

It is up to Japanese authorities to enforce such regulations as they exist. Or change them or properly regulate them. I suspect that some of the bruhah on this issue is that the income generated by Airbnb hosts is not subject to taxes and there are no set industry standards. Those are fair criticisms. Both hosts and guests take on some risk when using Airbnb. I cede that point.

Also, I would like to point out that in numerous instances I most certainly am not the first person to disrespect the local rules. I am often the first to give up my seat to an elderly or pregnant person when riding the trains--not the locals. I hold doors for people. I practise good hygiene etiquette; I don't spit on the ground or urinate in the streets. I remain aware of my surroundings not glued to my cell phone, and am highly sensitive to the atmosphere. I can "read the air" and behave accordingly even though I am not Japanese. In fact, (and highly ironic) I while travelling (and staying in Japanese hotels not Airbnb) have been disturbed more often by drunk and disorderly Japanese than any non-Japanese.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is a key point. They are happy to have foreigners spending money in Japan but they don't want them invading their neighborhoods.

They want their cake and eat it too. I really can't stand this attitude.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

AirBnb has so many different forms that it is easy to end up talking at cross purposes about it. There are clearly undesirable forms of use, e.g., people subletting public housing (happens in London), people using single apartments in multiuser residential blocks and handing out the security code for the front door to all guests, people running a backpackers in an ordinary house with no fire or hygiene regs, etc. etc.

Short term rental type usage for individual houses doesn't strike me as that bad though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

scare tactics only. someone knock on the door... lol... how do they prove its a business deal if someone stay in a house that is someones private property? hotel industry has to get used to it... there are always ways to get around airbnb as well by contacting the host directly.... try reverse email. so many empty properties in japan and owners has to pay property tax each year as well....

nobody can and will stop airbnb and uber...

PS: airbnb standards in japan very low.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tokyo in particular needs to accept and encourage AirBnB by applying a minimum standard and a limit to how many in a building. That would reduce the full guesthouse with one to two people and reduce the noise complaints. AirBnB is just short term stays in ways indifferent hotels can't offer. Outright banning them is ridiculous. There's a need. If Japan can't see that then heaven help the Olympics

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@philly1

You make alot of fair points but my bottom line goes back to democracy. It must be for 'us', the residents, to decide what will be allowed in our buildings/communities regardless of whether an app developer has made our laws difficult to enforce. The suggestions made by some here that the government or building associations cannot regulate anything on private property is simply nonsense. I also understand that as a guests are not technically breaking any law, even though you are fully aware that your host is.

I respectfully suggest that those laws which allow unwarranted racism and prejudice to flourish need to be struck down. Enlightened societies regularly review and revise their laws. Why not Japan?

I don't think this has anything to do with racism or prejudice, not for me at least. I'm sure that if there was clear evidence that the majority of Japanese people felt one way or another about AirBnB, both of us would be willing to respect it and accept either a change in the law or the status quo.

However, part of the problem is that AirBnB proponents are probably convinced that the majority would support AirBnB if only they learned more about it, while property owners like myself (who don't want strangers in our secure buildings and a column of suitcases trundling through our neighborhood at 6am) are equally convinced that the majority of local people are firmly behind us. Maybe AirBnB should commission a survey to see what Japanese people think about the idea? I'm guessing they would be scared to find out the results.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nobody can stop the sharing economy. Embrace it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I do have an investment in the neighbourhood as I want to have a very good time while I am there.

By that standard, everybody who happens to stroll down the street has an "investment in the neighborhood." It's not just about you, you, you. You might be a wonderful person, but some Air BnBs let in 100 people a month into a private non-commercial neighborhood. Can you vouch for all of them?

We call the police almost weekly. They do nothing. We also do Airbnb. None of our guests have disturbed anyone by even the smallest degree.

If you live in a neighborhood that requires you to call the police almost weekly, then I can't imagine what it would take to disturb someone there. The police are very rarely called in any decent neighborhood.

I have used Air BnB, and the concept is a good one. But that doesn't mean that there should be no restrictions at all, as so many here seem to want. Large numbers of strange people (not foreigners, but simply people that nobody can identify - that includes Japanese) almost certainly will cause problems in a quiet neighborhood. Maybe that's one in a hundred, but over the course of the year it will add up.

In my neighborhood, the closest commercial/retail establishments are a 5 to 10 minute walk away. An Air Bnb there would be Ok with me. But it does not belong in a commercial-free residential area like the one I live in.

The people who downvote me, frankly, have entitlement issues if they think they can do whatever they want wherever they want as long as they follow their own personal code of ethics. And the law agrees with me, as would 100% of my neighbors. The irony of wanting to "experience life as a local" while criticizing those same locals for being uptight or even racist because they want some degree of control over their living environment is rich indeed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am in full agreement with @M3M3M3. AiirBnb has gone well past just being someone letting out a spare room or renting their house or apartment. It is attracting commercial operators both Japanese and foreign who are playing fast and loose with the law. Often Airbnb rentals are also in conflict with the contract obligations of condo owners.

For some there may be an element of racism, but for me the issue is strangers in the building with my wife and kids. I pay more to live in a building where everyone has been vetted and in a building that has reasonably good security with video monitors. If anything unknown Japanese or Asians who look about the same as Japanese are more of a worry than highly visible foreign nationals.

I wonder if I am the only one who has noticed that some JT posters seem to be trying to score goals on both sides of the field. Some people are bashing Japan and the Japanese for lax security leading to the Sagamihara killing. At the same time some people are bashing Japan and the Japanese for not wanting to reduce their security level by allowing rentals to strangers both foreign and Japanese who are vetted only to the extent that they have a valid credit card and email address.

If being against unrestricted Airbnb rentals makes me a reactionary, that is a title I am proud to carry. This is an issue for the citizens of Japan and in the case of condos the owners to decide. If restrictions hurt the tourist trade, so much the better. I have to deal with tourists in both Tokyo and London. The fewer the better in my view.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The problem with services such as AirBnB is that the people who stays in these rooms/houses do not comply with the residential rules (how to dispose garbage, noise, neighborly behavior). And I am pretty sure that is an issue in every other city in the world.

Also the issue of being illegal, there is a reason why it is illegal and normal people shouldn't be doing much "renting". Although the monetary and competition may come as the most important issue, I think the real main issue is security and safety.

In order to let people stay at your home (and charge for it), the "host" should be able to provide a clean room disinfection of sheets and such (unless you know, you like to be in touch with other people bodily liquids and stuff)... Also the host has to provide safety at least the minimal against fire, natural disasters and crimes... Most people that rent their houses for AirBnb, i think they are not able to meet the requirements.

I am very much against AirBnb and Uber in fact...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yubaru, " If you believe in democracy then by all rights I should be able to use my property as I see fit. "

I have only ever lived in democracies (three different countries). In every one there were zoning and other restrictions on use of property. Here in Japan, my spouse's cousin owns a piece of land across from an elementary school. He cannot build a love hotel there. Some of our family property is agricultural land and cannot be put to other use. In my neighborhood owners can tear down their old Japanese style houses and replace them with houses in a style of their choosing. But they must be in a muted color and if they want a fence it must be either a certain type of hedge or wooden boards painted or singed black. Etc etc. These type of regulations are a fact of life and you are living in a fantasy world if you think otherwise. Why would lodging facilities, which are responsible for the life and welfare of clients, and also have an impact on the neighborhood, be an exception?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How come so many places have had B&Bs for decades well before Air B&B started & it goes on with no hullaballoo

BBs require licenses while following strict regulations and are located in/near commercial areas. ABB requires none of that and allows any resident to 'rent' to someone else.

Many pay a premium to live where they do and shouldnt have to deal with numerous issues caused by transient activity that should be relegated to commercial areas.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

ThePBot: The 'sharing economy' is nothing more than misnomer these days. There's no 'sharing' involved. It's more of a 'person-to-person' economy or something.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm surprised the article didn't mention minshuku, which seem to be far closer to what ABB does than a hotel or ryokan. Does anyone know what the regulations governing minshuku are like?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Doesn't the arguments sound eeirly similar to immigrants/migrants coming into the county and invading your residential area that was one else peaceful and you knew every face? I'm neither for or against, since it always depends on the circumstances at the time, but I gives you a good idea as to why outsiders in large numbers will never be welcome.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

the people who stays in these rooms/houses do not comply with the residential rules (how to dispose garbage, noise, neighborly behavior). And I am pretty sure that is an issue in every other city in the world.

You're pretty sure? Is this evidence based? Why do you claim that Airbnb guests don't comply with garbage rules? I've stayed at many AirBnbs in multiple countries, for varying lengths of time. For short stays, the host takes care of the garbage disposal. For longer stays, sometimes the host still does it; sometimes you are provided with instructions and whatever colour-coded bags are required, and like any other resident you then dispose of it as instructed.

Most people that rent their houses for AirBnb, i think they are not able to meet the requirements.

Again, is this actually evidence based, or is it complete conjecture? I've never checked into an airbnb and not found clean sheets on the bed, or a lack of cleanliness generally. A host that didn't clean the room would be quickly kicked off Airbnb. You may have a point on the fire safety regs - in some cases where a host is renting multiple rooms in a building, for example. But that is the minority of cases, and sorting that out doesn't require the entire concept to be shut down,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Minshuku are regarded as "kan'i shukuhaku shisetsu" and are licensed as such. The rules are prefecture based I think, but they'll need a commercial kitchen for any food and will have to apply to various fire regulations regarding materials, fire extinguishers, marked exits, smoke venting etc. These all add to the cost of running a minshuku, but provide a certain degree of protection for both users and local people. One worry with minshuku is that they will have a food poisoning outbreak that hits the reputation of other local operators (fuuyo higai). The rules aren't there just for the customers.

A spare room in someone's house might be like a minshuku, but I think classic whole-pad AirBnb is more like a "kashi besso" in Japan, where other regulations apply. Most people in Japan do not make their houses out of fireproof materials, so I doubt that many ordinary houses or apartments on Airbnb in Japan would pass.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I own a couple of properties (one in Tokyo, one near a beach) and rent them out airbnb style. I've even rented them out to people making adult movies. No worries, easy money.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Doesn't the arguments sound eeirly similar to immigrants/migrants coming into the county and invading your residential area that was one else peaceful and you knew every face?

No, not at all. They sound much more like what you hear in the US from residential property owners when a local government moves to change zoning regulations in a direction that they fear will change the character of their neighborhoods or lead to a decline in the value of their property. Same in Britain except instead of zoning they call it planning permission.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I own a couple of properties (one in Tokyo, one near a beach) and rent them out airbnb style. I've even rented them out to people making adult movies. No worries, easy money.

That's so reassuring for me and my daughters. Thanks.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Agree with M3M3M3. I also bet that the same people who think its OK to break the law in this case are those who want laws made and enforced for the things they want regulated. This is the same argument as the kindy starting in the residential area in Tokyo, most said its OK for kids to be noisy and its just the oldies complaining. Their opinion was with no consideration of those who originally bought into the peaceful non commercial area. So it was OK to break the law for the kids but not for the oldies to keep the law. Its called situational ethics.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I understand the complaints around renting a whole property on a very short let basis. In the UK there is a growing problem with party houses so I understand it can be very disruptive to local resident's lives. However, it's unreasonable to restrict a private person from renting a room in their home out for a bit of pin money. It's certainly no competition for professional hotel and ryokan businesses.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you believe in democracy then by all rights I should be able to use my property as I see fit.

What? That isn't democracy, it sounds more like anarchy. Democracy says you follow the laws that are voted on and approved by the majority, although in most cases this is done by representatives rather than direct citizen votes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No matter what, you can't stop people from sharing stuff that they own.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No matter what, you can't stop people from sharing stuff that they own.

And that is not what they are trying to do.

The issue is people renting stuff they own and not just to a friend for a day or two but to complete strangers over long periods of time. And they aren't necessarily trying to stop it, just require them to meet the same regulations as hotels have to meet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Try living next door to a place that is being used via Air BnB. Visitors don't care about noise and rubbish and everyady things like that. It can be a nightmare.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree with those who have said Airbnb is not part of a "sharing" economy. How people could even say it is with a straight face is beyond me. If I were to put my extra homegrown vegetables in a box in front of my home with a sign saying "Free! Help yourself to whatever you want", that would be sharing. If the sign said "Take what you like and leave a similar amount of something different that you grew" that would be bartering. But if the sign said "100 yen each", even if that price were below the production cost, that would be selling something. And that exactly what Airbnb people do. Look at the listings. They all have a price on them. If it was a sharing economy, all the stays would be free.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So it seems the debate is around the law and neighbours. Let's be honest people are very "flexible" when it comes to the law. Does everyone in Japan keep to the speed limit, pay for a TV licence and so on? I work in quite a few kindergardens and they seem to have a very flexible view on copyright. Also the police in Osaka seem to have a flexible view on the law. Some clubs have been force to close down using laws designed to stop people paying for sex. Yet other clubs stay open. Clearly double standards. As for neighbours, yes any Airbnb host should consider their neighbours. Having neighbours in Japan seems to be a double edged sword. In my case my Japanese neighbours feels it's okay to use the washing at 6am, 10am, 5pm and 11pm. I wouldn't be surprised if she is running a little business of her own. Personally I will still keep using Airbnb when necessary. Last year we went to Sapporo. All the hotels were charging 30,000 yen a night! I got an apartment for 30,000 yen for 3 days. Unless someone is going to pay me the different then I am going to continue to use Airbnb.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I have been an AirBNB host here in Surfers Paradise Australia for about 2 years. Here to there are similar concerns. BUT.

I do not accept auto booking on the site, I read the guests profile page and their reviews. I also look to see if they have a facebook or social media account and work out if they are going to be respectful to my neighbors and not cause any noise or other problems. So far I have nnot had an issuu with any guest.

I think AirBNB is a great system, I have met some amazing, talented and brilliant people from all over the world. I think people need to get used to it because it is not going away. With anything new people need time to adjust and if they can not then it is their problem and they should just but out.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Does everyone in Japan keep to the speed limit, pay for a TV licence and so on?

Exactly. People bend and break laws all the time so NO ONE should ever have to follow ANY LAW, EVER!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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