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Airbnb says new law regulating short-term rentals 'stinks'

43 Comments
By Lionel Bonaventure

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It's amazing how quickly the government move to protect Japanese big business but when it comes to things like workers rights etc ........

28 ( +34 / -6 )

In the tourist magnet of Kyoto, for example, rentals in residential areas will only be allowed between mid-January and mid-March, the low season for tourists.

This confirms that this law benefits the hotel industry, the peak tourist season needs more accommodation not less.

But some Airbnb hosts say the registration process is overly restrictive and intended to benefit the hotel industry.

And these people would be correct.

20 ( +25 / -5 )

This is a classic Japanese SNAFU! It has nothing to do with managing private holiday rentals. It’s all about protecting the hotel industry. Every hotel in Kyoto is totally booked out during the peak seasons and some are booked for years in advance. This is the sane for many other popular tourist areas. This will result in people sleeping in parks while the Olympic are on. Airbnb should be suing the pants of these idiots for obstruction of business.

16 ( +22 / -6 )

And Japanese authorities say the legislation will protect tourists and local residents alike, and is intended to "nuture healthy growth."

And Japanese authorities say the legislation will protect businesses and political bribes alike, and is intended to "nurture healthy profits." without the need of increase competition. ..... there fixed that for them

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Haha, this reactionary law is soooo Japanese!

9 ( +14 / -5 )

This confirms that this law benefits the hotel industry, the peak tourist season needs more accommodation not less. thats the thing if J hotels couldn't charge a season premium, disguised as full capacity they'd probably go bankrupt. Imagine if there was plentiful supply of rooms all year round. they wouldnt be able to charge a premium . Once again Japanese companies ripping off consumers , imagine all those paper envelopes that were handed out to local politicians.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

What this law is going to encourage is going to be an "illegal market" of short-term rentals.

I know I will be using any "illegal" service that ignores the law.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

But some Airbnb hosts say the registration process is overly restrictive

Could it be that one of those restrictions is that rentors will have to pay tax on their earnings, just like hotels do?

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

no gary, many airbnb already pay taxes, it aint that hard and not really that big of a deal.

its directly meant to benefit hotel operators and management firms and gov.

they make it extremely difficult to obtain registration, regardless of the type of property you host at

countless papers, countless pointless appointments that only mean to waste time.. for example, i had to get sign from fire station... i had to make appointment a week in advance.. and there was no reason for that appointment... they already had my maps ( since developer has to submit them anyway ) and all it was is me coming, writing 10 sentences on some paper and them signing it... why did i need to wait a week for it and why it cant be done online is beyond me....

airbnb also claims you can submit it online with card reader.. which is absolute nonsense.. you have to attend each of this meaningless interviews to get their signs... they dont actually check anything they dont know.. its all built purely to discourage one to do it in first place...

and apparently you also need to submit proof that you are not mad...which is impossible ...and results in self written fake paper...

btw, airbnb shouldnt be crying croc tears, it is all their own doing ... 1. they should have provided better help and clear information to people and not links to that pointless website. 2. they should have facilitated better law implementation 3. they should have researched the process much better and not provide false information and 4. as major operator, they didnt have to bow to gov but could push for better rules.

I sincerely hope airbnb management letting local chief go, because he totally blew this one.

the only thing still going for aibnb is the brand name.. and the reviews / host statuses... but with only 45 registrations in the whole of shinjuku... its seems the alternatives will take over.. and with no jp legal presence.. they couldnt care less about jp gov licensing regulations.....

5 ( +8 / -3 )

And the latest score:

Corporate 10

Free enterprise 0

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Here, opinions are all by foreigners and no voices of local residents. I think it has due reasons for the restrictions.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

This will suck for tourism expectations for the coming years: 40 million people by 2020 is not gonna happen if they have no place to stay.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Actually, AirBnB Japan 'stinks.'

I have had friends who have had problems with them that have not been solved for months, have been left stranded when hosts disappear, and customer service that takes hours. In the States it is hit and miss but in Japan, I think AirBnB should straighten out its problems and then complain to the government. Too many problems with AirBnB in Japan now so I am not really sorry to see them lose money. It is too bad that some great hosts might take a loss. But overall, it is AirBnB Japan's fast and loose policy that has caused its own problems.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The solace is that AirBNB listings in Japan are crap anyways. Bare-bones apartments and houses with no character constructed of shoddy materials, typically.

In many countries, the beauty of AirBNB is that you can rent a home with a nice kitchen, cozy spaces with art on the walls, and a beautiful garden with a view. Places that add lots of local flavor to your trip. Japanese listings for the large part appear to add nothing more than a roof to sleep under and mediocrity.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@Capt

My Dec 2017 completed beach house which was planned for part airbnb use is well made insulated and cute functional and great, but i cant use it for airbnb anymore

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Next on the list ? Uber... ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bar Owner

Register it as a kashi bessou. They have existed for decades and are not subject to minpaku rules.

Dingleheimer has a point. The majority of AirBnbs in Japan are just short stay apartments, with no personal stuff in them and often run by commercial landlords with expanding portfolios. Their main appeal is the price.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The AirBNB debacle symbolizes the active role taken by authorities here to erect hurdles and indeed stamp out attempts by those who seek to follow the lead of millions upon millions of people in freer, less rigidly top down societies, who wish to take advantage of opportunities presented by the new economy. Facing serious demographic challenges, tourism is one of the few bright spots and the authorities should be welcoming it as a catalyst for infrastructure improvement and widened choices. Instead, behaving as if myopia was a virtue, their cynicism and arrogance is on full display as they issue their petulant diktats restricting BNB to a ridiculous three months in winter.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No, what stinks is how Airbnb will affect many foreign residents (already has). Luckily I'm not in that position, but the first places to become Airbnb are buildings which accept foreign residents. Because they've got less leverage than Japanese tenants and the only reason the buildings were 'foreigner friendly' in the first place was because it's the only way the owners could get them rented. Well now they've got another stream. I assume all of the pro Airbnb posters have living situations that aren't dependent on finding accommodation in typical foreigner rental market. Airbnb will create a premium where foreigners have to pay extra to live in a building which promises no Airbnb. So if you're down with endless comings and goings, suitcases bumping up and down stairs, vans waiting outside for groups of tourists at 4:30am, the combine next door being tachi nomi party central, your Japanese neighbours who you've worked so long to build trust with suddenly hating you, your choice of alternate places to rent being severely limited and overpriced, go ahead and cheer Airbnb on. Just be careful what you wish for.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

As per usual Japan being held to double standards on here as compared to others.

These people had all this time to properly register to list on Airbnb. And now they want to whine because they didn't flow the rules.

The world's smallest violin.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Why not just do it on the sly? Nobody needs to know. SO easy to get around this stupid law.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"Why not just do it on the sly? Nobody needs to know. SO easy to get around this stupid law." Sure, then angry neighbours call the police on your guests every single night, hand you in to city hall, post signs everywhere, play dirty tricks like snapping off plastic fork teeth in your front door lock. I'm sure it would work out well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think many (like us) are just waiting to register their properties after the new laws kick in on June 15. For those who truly want to run it as a profitable business, getting a ryokan or other hotel license just makes more sense. The upcoming new regulations for ryokan & hotel licenses will open up the possibility for more homes (in some areas) to qualify as such. Current laws have specifications on layout etc. that make it hard for some homes to register. I do wish the government had allowed us to apply for registration as a Ryokan under the new law before June 15 though...I have a feeling it's going to be crazy at the Health, Labor and Welfare Office next week. I also predict you'll see many more listings return to AIRBNB by next month.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

AirBnB is the scrouge of local people who are living in Japan.

My apartment complex recent had 2 apartments doing AirBnB and on 1/3 nights i cannot sleep because there will be tourists partying with loud music until 3am.

They should ban this model all together.

People always act their worst when they travel.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Again and again the Japanese government shows how clueless it really is.....

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Easy to criticize everything that the Japanese government does. Before such off hand remarks, one must first consider the circumstances, situations and conditions to which such laws, regulations and rules are meant to apply to and address.

Registration as with certification is a method to identify persons and institutions that are doing business, not so much for control but to assure healthy, safe and secure business practices that does no "harm" to the public. One must identify and know exactly who are involved in a particular activity or business and what they are doing. It also assures that proper taxes are paid.

Regulations, policies and rules are normally required to assure positive business practices and to control and if necessary intervene on harmful activities.

Airbnb like Craig's Lists is a listing service that takes reservations on behalf of the host, as far as I know at this time. They do not check and qualify their listings till they receive a negative comment. They also place disclaimers and qualifiers to divest themselves of any responsibility legal and otherwise. They place all of the liability with the host. (Visit their site and see exactly what they are responsible for. They are responsible only to "define" the standards by which the host and the guest must agree to and follow. Their only enforcement is to "remove" a host listing.)

But the issue for the Japanese government is those that work outside of a regular registered business. They cannot monitor or control or tax those that are not visible and identifiable by the government. It is like the "black market" business.

That business has grown to a size and level that the government must get involved.

Airbnb actually will benefit from this new law. The Japanese government is now actually doing the actual check to make sure the BNB host is legitimately doing business and not harming the public.

The comment above only shows the financial interest of Airbnb.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

ONLY IN JAPAN - the government says they will work to INCREASE the availability of tourist accommodation to cope with the increasing number of visitors, PLUS the expected increase of visitors due to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. INSTEAD, they introduce legislation that actually DECREASES the availability of tourist accommodation. The large hotel operators are struggling to provide any additional capacity. So who provides it? Well, organised crime has a long history of filling the gaps, as they are doing now with the construction industry and foreign workers, and they know how to keep the politicians happy at the same time. AirBNB has its problems, but their main fault is "cultural insensitivity" in not knowing how to influence politics, i.e. how much to pay and how to keep it quiet.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Sorry, I agree with the gov't on this one. Airbnb has been disruptive not competitive on the same playing field. You follow the same rules as hotels by the people who passed the laws who live there. Be licensed (fire codes, insurance) and respectable (quiet). Tourist cannot overrule locals. Limiting people in areas also means less disruption. Otherwise the very tourist attraction they had come to see would be diminished and the people who live there would be upset. Reminds me of the 8000 residential population limit in Banff Alberta so this is hardly new.

The bigger the hole the bigger the fish, so any cap would have to come at some point and the same result.

As you know, area transit is amazing in Japan, so this notion that you need to be only in Kyoto to visit it is not applicable to that area (if not the entire country) and encourages/forces tourism accommodation into more adjacent towns. Same with Japanese who live there! Those are the areas who can build up a bit more, but to demand special privileges is pretty rude thinking.

Day trips around the area worked out fine for me and I had a broader experience, and appreciation

4 ( +4 / -0 )

AirBnB is the scrouge of local people who are living in Japan.

My apartment complex recent had 2 apartments doing AirBnB and on 1/3 nights i cannot sleep because there will be tourists partying with loud music until 3am.

They should ban this model all together.

People always act their worst when they travel.

Exactly, someone that gets it. No regulations or oversight leads to noisy and rude renters. Let's hope those usual suspects on here blaming Japan never experience that inconvenience.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I agree with the Japanese government as well. AirBnB wants to conduct business in Japan like they would the rest of the world. It business model is not fit for the Japanese nation. The foreign tourists are for the most part inconsiderate of their neighbors just like they are back at home. If AirBnB is not happy, too bad. There are lots of places for foreign people to stay like Sakura House.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Just abandon the Japan market and ramp up your profits in plenty of other asian countires who are way more welcoming. Or just start a food delivery service like Uber did.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maybe if the opposition was more vocal in exposing this obvious cronyism and corruption that benefits the political and business elite on the expense of the average Japanese, then maybe people would trust them more in leading the country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is just over regulated and basically the anthiesis of what a free market should be!

From beer to construction the ‘dango system’ is hard at work!

AirBnB is not perfect but it works due to its feedback system and yes there are bad guests and there are problems.

For the most part there aren’t and what a fantastic chance to meet your host and experience the local culture!

At the same time, it has the potential for ordinary Japanese people to make some money!

Well, it did have.....

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Fully in agreement with Airbnb on this. I just got a message that my reservation for a trip to Kyushu next month has been cancelled due to this. While I appreciate the need for regulating this field, the way the government is implementing this is ridiculous and clearly designed to protect the lousy hotel industry here. There is no way I am bringing a family of four to one of those awful hotels that don’t even have pillows on the bed ever again, I just won’t travel.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just another example of how Japan is a first world country with a third world government.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

AirBnb is a massive corporation, with a value that exceeds any hotel owner in Japan. Restricting it is not a victory for "corporations".

I guess the main thing Airbnb has done is show that more people want to stay in basic short stay apartments rather than hotels. So the logical thing going forward would be to build blocks of them in areas where local people are happy to have them. That would actually create jobs and not affect the rental market for affordable housing. It is first world countries than have and enforce zoning. Letting people do what they want where they want is third world.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A rather stupid move by the Japanese government

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

AirBnB are in no position to finger point. They aren't exactly leaders in ethical business practices.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Any type of business that poses a threat to the established order will be crushed.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Simple Solution, only big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto can have Airbnb, within the boundary.

Hong Kong Airbnb are really good and it's like a big city, it needs it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Honestly, all of you Airbnb supporters need to take an honest look at the situation. All of you "free market is best" and "I'm tired of the government over regulating everything and gouging the average Joe" are far too young to know the past two generations worked so hard to ensure you have a safe place to sleep at night with government-regulated fire escapes and smoke alarm at your hotel, or if you need a clean reliable taxi whose driver has been vetted, licensed and extensively knows the city in which they're driving.

What's what's next for the young budding entrepreneur who wants to break down the so-called government and business bureaucracy? Building inspectors? Doctors, plastic surgeons, lawyers?

We don't need regulations for the public good, as long as I can save 20 to 30% on my bill, right?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I've had enough with all the 'free enterprise entrepreneurship' talk, what Airbnb has really done in many situations is allow owners to turn their fleapit into a flophouse, nothing more. It's anti social and torments the heck out of your neighbours who are primarily lower income and foreign ( first categories of housing to be affected) and has people complaining about how anti business Japan is. It's primarily foreigners here who think they know better than their host country's government and the vast majority of Japanese are against having tourists dragging their suitcases up and down the stairs and leaving their 7/11 bentos 'tied up in plastic bags on the wrong day. I'm glad all levels of government are cracking down on Airbnb.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lets see how the Visitor figures are next year. Maybe Japan doesn't need AirBnB, maybe it's trying to take a leaf out of the Chinese playbook, and develop their own Japanese AirBnB which will subsequently be allowed without restriction. Or maybe, they'll realise that they've made a mistake, and wonder how to avoid a visitor disaster for the Olympics... empty stadiums would be.. rather embarrassing, so watch for free-tickets, and National holidays to counter that experience....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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