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Japan's home-share listings grow ten-fold on month to 1,000 ahead of new law

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The new law limits home-sharing to 180 days a year

And the reason for this is?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

And the reason for this is?

Presumably because if the majority of a property's use during the year is for short term commercial rentals, there is no excuse for exempting them from the normal rules and regulations for hotels and commercial property zoning.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'll say it again, why fix something that wasn't broken in the first place? This complicates things for both the renters and the owners.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Interestingly Australia recently implemented a 180 day rule for home sharing rentals, seems like it is a universal limit (half the year). I get the feeling that many/most people were jumping into this airbnb thing as a regulation free way to make easy money (i knew of someone who rented an apartment, and then subletted that out through airbnb, for a very comfortable profit!). Little to no consideration for neighbours or legalities... So in that sense i think the laws are a good idea. Yes it sucks for tourists coming here, but even they would feel much more comfortable coming into an apartment knowing that they are welcome there and that there is no chance of being raided by police

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Who wrote this? The article says Japan's home-share listings grew" ten-fold on month to 1,000..." and have crossed the 1,000-mark. This means it was down to 100 listings last month. If there were 62,000 listings "earlier this year" which means the number of listings is down 98.38%.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In Japan.... in general it is quite simple "you're damned it you do".

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

M3M3M3

Presumably because if the majority of a property's use during the year is for short term commercial rentals, there is no excuse for exempting them from the normal rules and regulations for hotels and commercial property zoning.

But there is still no laws about home sharing services unless they make and pass a new one. Although they are both on hospitality and accomodation business there are still lot's of differences between AirBnB and Hotels.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Hmm. I just looked at that sign a little more closely and see the airB&B logo - presumably used without permission. Could get someone arrested for trademark infringement... ;-)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

there is no excuse for exempting them from the normal rules and regulations for hotels and commercial property zoning.

If it's their own private property, why not? Hotels and commercially zoned properties have many advantages that private home-owners don't.

If it's about money, overall it may have the reverse effect as potential travelers see the exorbitant cost of hotels here and look elsewhere. If more tourists are coming to Japan, more money is coming with them. There is a point where over-regulation has a negative effect on any industry. Free markets often thrive.

It's clearly about directing the money to the status-quo. Although, I do feel for some hoteliers for possible lost revenue, it could be the market speaking to them. As usual, those with the right 'credentials' are given an easy ride in Japan, so long as they jump when they are told to.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'll say it again, why fix something that wasn't broken in the first place? This complicates things for both the renters and the owners.

How so? Renters dont see any change apart from an initial decrease in listings. In any event it means the homeowners who do continue renting now have some legal accountability for both the renters and the surrounding neighbors should something go wrong.

If it's their own private property, why not?

Simply because accountability, and also because even though its private property it becomes a business. There is also a thing called zoning. Yes hotels have many advantages but they are also built on development that allows hotel out of the 15 zoning codes. You cant just put a hotel in the middle of a residential area, there are many city planning reasons for this.

It's clearly about directing the money to the status-quo. 

It isnt only about that. Its about protecting industry, as well as protecting normal homeowners. I for one, wouldnt want an airbnb property to open up next to my house and have to deal with a bunch of arguably noisy foreigners who dont know anything about Japanese culture and keeping things peaceful.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Mike James,

Read the article again. The ten-fold increase is referring to the listings/registrations with the Japanese government, which were 152 in May and 1134 in June. It’s got nothing to do with the Airbnb listings.

The “only in Japan” and “I can do what I want with my property” crowds seem to be unaware of regulations being put into place at various locations overseas, such as afanofjapan mentioned.

i would add to ksteer’s post, that it’s also about protecting the guest. Fire, safety, hygiene regulations etc exist for good reason.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I for one, wouldnt want an airbnb property to open up next to my house and have to deal with a bunch of arguably noisy foreigners who dont know anything about Japanese culture and keeping things peaceful.

Why do you automatically think that foreigners are (arguably) noisy and know nothing about keeping things peaceful? Does this feeling not also apply to Japanese nationals? I know I've certainly had problems with the house next to mine, and it's not AirBnb.

As for knowing nothing about the culture, does that mean tourists are some type of problem and should not come to experience the culture? Tolerance is widely practiced in other parts of the world to much prosperity...

I have stayed in AirBnb lodgings many times before and have never been aware of any nearby homeowners that needed 'protection'. I'm sure you can find some isolated cases/incidents, though.

Simply because accountability, and also because even though its private property it becomes a business.

Fair point! But there are other, less damaging, ways to go about regulating AirBnb hosts. As you say, there are 15 zoning codes, so it wouldn't be a stretch to create a new one to accommodate Japanese homeowners that do want to let their private residence via a streamline and profitable platform.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Good for the new law.

It takes laws to make sure people keep their properties nice and quiet in consideration of neighbors, something Airbnb could care less about.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I love all "the sky is falling" complaints that no more accommodation will be available and it's bad for tourists. People seemed to do fine before AirBnB, and they'll do just fine after these regulations.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@noypikantoku

But there is still no laws about home sharing services unless they make and pass a new one. Although they are both on hospitality and accomodation business there are still lot's of differences between AirBnB and Hotels.

Well, there is a law now. Besides that, there have always been municipal zoning laws resticting land to particular types of residential, commercial or industrial use. These laws were specifically adopted to avoid conflicts between the users of property and ensure a set supply of homes for local people. Most people will probably agree that someone living in a residential building is not allowed to convert their apartment into a bar or restaurant. I honestly can't see much difference between a fulltime AirBnB vs a traditional hotel/B&B. I'd be curious to hear what specifically sets them apart from a legal perspective.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@AgentX

If it's their own private property, why not?

Because they've bought their property subject to the zoning regulations which do not allow business activities. There is nothing unfair about this seeing as the price they paid for the property reflects this restriction. This is why a plot of land zoned for commercial use might sell for 10x more than a similarly sized plot zoned exclusively for residential development.

Hotels and commercially zoned properties have many advantages that private home-owners don't.

What sort of advantages do they have?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm OK with these rentals being regulated, but I feel the 180 limit is arbitrary and kind of defeats the purpose of the legislation.

The main problem with these rentals is that some properties are really not suitable for it - especially in places where significant nuisances will be created for neighbors (either from poor supervision by owners or due to the nature of the property itself). It makes sense to me to have an approval process to ensure that such places or owners are kept out of the business.

But beyond that gatekeeper role, it doesn't make sense to me. If a property is found to be suitable for short term rental with owners who will properly supervise it, then it makes zero sense to just pull that 180 limit out of a hat and place it on them. Its going to discourage people from investing in properties that are suitable for use as short term rentals since they can't make enough money. This is just wasteful.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This is just wasteful.

Yep. And people wonder why Japan's economy has been stagnant for so long - except for those who come from money, of course... they are constantly reaping larger returns and are quick to point it out.

Let's also remember that hotels also make listings in AirBnB. It's not like they are missing out on anything.

What sort of advantages do they have?

Tax breaks and street frontage to begin with.

This is why a plot of land zoned for commercial use might sell for 10x more than a similarly sized plot zoned exclusively for residential development.

Which is clearly out of reach of the average Taro. Those plots also make (more than) 10x the return in potential revenues. This was a way for the small-timer to make some money, too. It didn't create the problems that people have hypothesized above.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Everyone is slamming the rule be abuse its a way of knocking the govt. ( I don't like then at all either) but recently Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York have all racked down on this. May slightly different reason s but as great as Air BnB is to use. It does need some rules

4 ( +4 / -0 )

180 nights a year is way more than rental cottages in resorts get. At places like Izu and Karuizawa.

If you need that high occupancy to start to make money, you must be undercharging. Hotels in Japan are notorious for paying low wages, so price competition in the accommodation sector should not be encouraged. The number of tourists coming to Japan is going up because people are happy to pay whatever they are being charged. There is no evidence that the current cost of accommodation in Japan is a problem.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is no evidence that the current cost of accommodation in Japan is a problem.

Its not so much the cost as it is the quality. If you are travelling with two young kids like me, staying in a regular Japanese hotel is an absolute nightmare since they offer almost nothing that a family needs (including no brainer basic stuff like proper pillows).

Staying at a rental solves so many problems. No overcrowded rooms (since you are usually renting an apartment that is significantly larger than a hotel room), comfortable beds (with pillows even!), a kitchen for preparing meals (MASSIVELY important for parents with toddlers), etc etc. Renting apartments is just a million times better than staying in a hotel.

The fact that they are usually cheaper than hotels is just icing on the cake.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

There are places like Sakura house, you can rent apartments from them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These millennial s think they can do what they want and disregard the laws and rules. Rules and regulations are set over the years to protect the our citizen and the tourists coming in. Airbnb is cheap and easy to use, but its very short sighted solution.

Either regulate Airbnb the same way hotels are regulated in terms of safety, fire hazard, and hygiene or close them down. If there is not enough hotel rooms, the supply and demand will eventually correct itself. It just take time

2 ( +3 / -1 )

they offer almost nothing that a family needs 

I don't know what kind of cheap hotels you stay at, but if you stay at a average hotel or above, the service is generally excellent here.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@AgentX

Tax breaks and street frontage to begin with... Which is clearly out of reach of the average Taro. Those plots also make (more than) 10x the return in potential revenues. This was a way for the small-timer to make some money, too.

But hotels with street frontage pay dearly for the privilege. It's not some sort of inherent or unfair advantage that is unavailable to the average Taro. I'm also not aware of any tax breaks that are granted exclusively to businesses located on commercially zoned property. If you register as a sole proprietor, you will be allowed to write off all the same expenses for your 180 days of AirBnb as a large hotel would.

Ultimately, everyone should be equal under the law and be required to play by the same rules. We shouldn't be holding large companies to a higher standard of regulation just to give the average Taro a competitive advantage in the market. That's not the government's proper role.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't know what kind of cheap hotels you stay at, but if you stay at a average hotel or above, the service is generally excellent here.

Service? Yes, everyone is always polite. That is not what I am talking about.

Have you ever stayed in a Japanese hotel with two small children? I am specifically referring to the needs of people in that situation. Renting a short term apartment is a million times preferable to a Japanese Hotel for us, for the reasons I mentioned above. Japanese hotels are certainly adequate for business travel or even for couples (I've stayed in both expensive and cheap ones and when I go on business trips by myself I have no trouble staying in one). For families, most of them are woefully inadequate compared to an apartment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

some of which have imposed even stricter rules to protect security. because gaijin are basically criminals and stricter rules makes it easy to keep profit margins high, services low without the need of extra competition.... there fixed that for them

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But hotels with street frontage pay dearly for the privilege. It's not some sort of inherent or unfair advantage that is unavailable to the average Taro. and thats why they have street frontage , because it makes it convenient, most small renters dont have this advantage or are willing to pay for it so they offer a service of affordable prices , but legislation limits them to 180days making their costs artificially higher effectively giving larger hotel the unfair advantage. its nothing to do with security and everything to do with keeping unwanted competition out government bribes oops lobbying money flowing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

180 days is a perfectly reasonable and even generous limit. It would make no sense to allow it all year round whilst still prentending the property can be classed as residential. The 180 limit is basically just saying 'this is a residential property and so should be used as a residence for the majority of the year'. There's really no reason why Airbnbs shouldn't be subject to all of the same restrictions and regulations as normal hotels/lodgings if they're being run as full-time commercial operations.

'It's better for me and my two small kids' doesn't matter. I fully agree that apartments are more suitable and much more economical for many families and groups, but it's not relevant when discussing the law.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

180 days is a perfectly reasonable and even generous limit. It would make no sense to allow it all year round whilst still prentending the property can be classed as residential. The 180 limit is basically just saying 'this is a residential property and so should be used as a residence for the majority of the year'.

Aren't you kind of putting too much emphasis on form over function here? If the property is deemed suitable for use as a short term rental (ie won't disturb neighbors, properly supervised, etc) why should it matter what it is formally classified as (and I note that a lot of these places are not located in areas zoned residential, particularly in central areas which are mixed use)? Regardless of whether it is 180 days or 365 days there has already been a finding that it is not exclusively residential, so what is the point of insisting that it be used for residential (or simply sitting empty) half the days of the year?

There's really no reason why Airbnbs shouldn't be subject to all of the same restrictions and regulations as normal hotels/lodgings if they're being run as full-time commercial operations.

But there clearly are some rules governing hotels which aren't necessary (requirements for restaurant space, front desk, etc) for short term rentals, and of course the legislation at hand subjects them to rules which hotels aren't subject to (such as the 180 day limit) so clearly there is a logical difference for treating them differently.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I take your point about formal classifications and maybe that's an argument for doing away with it or at least revising it. I still don't see any reason why some company should be left to simply ignore everything just tonline their own pockets.

Regarding the rules, what's this about restaurants? I've heard about the front desk rule and I actually do think that Airbnbs should be subject to something similar, both for safety and accountability reasons. Kyoto's local rules state that a property manager of some sort must be within a short distance of the property at certain times (in case any issues arise). It's not quite as onerous as requiring an actual front desk but it does mean that, same as hotels, 'hosts' actually have to take some care (and some responsibility) for their 'guests' during their stays.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hotels in Japan are notorious for paying low wages, so price competition in the accommodation sector should not be encouraged.

@kohakuebisu - I think that you are confusing low wages with an unprofitable sector. Higher hotel rates would not increase salaries for the employees but increase profits for the owners.

Other practices in Japan do this too - convincing people that they need to work overtime or not take their holdiays, all wrapped up in Confucian ideals, when it is really just another way to line the owners' products.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wish my country enacted stricter rules on Airbnb and such, it’s becoming impossible to either rent long-term or buying a house...

People in poor neighborhoods are already being evicted from their houses due to real estate speculation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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