Regulations in your area

Hi All,
This is Omotenashi_host. I host 2 airbnb listings in Tokyo, and one in Okinawa, and I’m relatively new to this forum. And it’s a pleasure to exchange opinions and tips with you guys:)

First, I wanted to give you an idea of what running an Airbnb listing is like in Tokyo. Airbnb was introduced to Japan about 3 or 4 years ago. A lot of people knew about the trend and started renting rooms in the area ever since. Now there are about 30,000 listing in Tokyo and the market has become pretty saturated, with so many redundant listings that barely get a booking in a month, thanks to competition.
One another note, Japan has its share of xenophobic neighbours and some of these people freak out at the sight of foreigners going in an out of a building next-door. I know this sounds crazy, but Japan has had a long history of intolerance towards immigration, which is truly a shame. But these attitudes are slowly changing, thanks to the worldwide interest in Japanese culture, and the easing of visa restrictions. The 2020 Olympics is another good reason tourism is growing.

As of now, there are no particular laws banning Airbnb, or similar forms of vacation rentals, save for some minor jurisdictions ( definitely not Tokyo! ). But like most other countries around the world, the local hotel industry has been pressuring the government to change the laws to ban or restrict Airbnb. The government has been studying the case with other foreign cities, and has even been planning to restrict the number of days per year ( like in certain EU cities ). If this ever happens, the majority of the Airbnb listings will have to go out of business and Airbnb might be forced to withdraw from the Japanese market. But this is still not in effect yet.

Here are some restrictions that are already in effect;

  • In certain parts of Tokyo ( Sumida area ) you must have a license to run an Airbnb listing. You must also have a desk for check in purposes, and keep track of passport info.

  • Other areas in Tokyo ( Haneda airport area ), and Osaka you must provide accommodation for no less than 6 nights.

Simply said, in most jurisdictions, Airbnb is not 100% legal but not completely illegal either, since current laws don’t clearly define what is legal or not. There are many loopholes with the current laws that can be exploited. The only way you can get caught, and eventually arrested, is to get tipped off by a neighbor. He/she will call the authorities. The authorities will then ask you politely to shut down your listing.

I heard the case about NY banning short-term vacation rentals. It would be nice if you guys can also share your local laws and regulations as well :slight_smile: Please tell us what city you’re from and enlighten us on your local laws. Thanks!

In Sweden you are free to do it but most pay taxes, VAT if you are renting more than 4 months. If you are renting more than 4 rooms or/and 8 persons you have to declare it to the police

Hi Omo,

My son is currently in Kyoto, Japan on a MEXT scholarship. When he studied in Tokyo last year, I went to visit him and stayed in a Capsule in Shinjuku and then later a Tokoyo Inn near Tachikawa. So I don’t have any experience with Airs in Japan.

As for me, I’m on the Big Island of Hawaii, where there are absolutely no regulations against Airbnbs or vacation rentals. You don’t even have to get a license but most of us do just because if you have an excise license you have to list income and if it’s transient accommodations (less than 180 days ) you should also collect tax. So I get it in cash from the guests.

I’m in Asheville, in North Carolina, on the eastern side of the United States. We have a strong tourism industry here, as well as a housing crisis, with people always wanting to move here. Our city officials have banned stand-alone short term rentals in recent years. However, they have not banned home stays, where someone rents part of your home. The regulations require that the homeowner live in the home (and be home every night it’s rented), the rental cannot include a full oven (how the differentiate between a kitchen and a kitchenette), the homeowner cannot rent more than two bedrooms, and the rental unit must be connected to the rest of the house by an interior door. We just bought our home, and we specifically sought a home that could meet these requirements. You also have to get an annual inspection and license from the city. We ended up adding an interior door to the back of a closet to make it legal, since our basement apartment was otherwise completely separate.

My rental is a room in my house on the coast of southern Maine. We live in a summer resort town with tons of rentals of all types. The town requires that we have a license and we pay transient occupancy tax to the state.

There are currently no regulations on the books about Airbnb but the hotel/bnb industry in the nearby city of Portland is trying to change that. Under the proposed rules, property owners could only offer short-term rentals in their primary residence. Other rules include a six-guest limit, annual registration with the city and safety code requirements.

Our region has had private rentals for more than a century.

There are strict rules for rental properties, you do not need a licence but you have to register, and pay tourist tax. All of them also need to follow safety regulations and are checked on regular basis.

Illegal hosting is impossible, because you will someone will report you. Villages and communities are small so everyone knows what you are doing.

If you are able to host to more than 10 guests at the same time, you have to register your place as commercial property and get a licence for it.

Holiday home regulation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

  • only full apartment/house rentals allowed, no shared/private rooms
  • mandatory registration of owner and apartment at tourism department
  • mandatory classification of the apartment (Standard or Deluxe)
  • compliance with regulations (long checklist of what has to be in the apartment)
  • check-in and check-out of every guest at the tourism department online portal (including upload of passport scan)
  • payment of tourism fee (2.72 USD per bedroom per (occupied) night)

That’s it.

Despite the fact that it’s so easy, the majority is renting out illegally…can’t figure out why. (Maybe they are too lazy to register and comply with the rules.)


Firstly, thanks for the message. My goal is to attend the olympics in 2020!

airbnb really got their act together in Rio and they were of great help to us. I would imagine they have a huge interest in making the next olympics a success for them.

As for myself: I live outside of San Francisco. A lot of my guests use our apartment as a base to commute into SF on a daily basis via BART. So in that regards I am exempt from the SF restrictions. I do believe though that as time goes on more and more cities will tighten up on regulations especially if it means them earning more taxes.


Thanks for the feedback, everybody! :slight_smile:
It’s pretty interesting to know how the laws vary from city to city. I didn’t think many jurisdiction impose tax on their rentals, since that’s not the case in Japan ( save for hotels and other bnbs ).

Here in Paris region :

-you’re allowed to rent your own primary residence up to 120 nights a year.
-You’re allowed to rent a bedroom within your own primary residence for as many nights as you want.
-in Paris proper and inner suburbs, to operate a full-time vacation rental, you need to change the use of your property from housing to commercial. It requires that you buy commercial rights (about 1000€ to 2000€ per square meter in Paris) and fill a permit.
-In outer suburbs where I am, you’re allowed to turn a property into a vacation rental without a permit.
-In all cases, you must register your rental at city hall. You can get your vacation rental inspected and rated (1 to 5-stars) by a government-approved agency.
-You must pay a tourist tax to the city. It depends on your exact location and star rating.

  • You don’t pay VAT, unless your gross revenue is over 32,900€/year, or 82,200€/year if your place was inspected and rated. You get a 50% tax abatement on your gross revenues, or 71% tax abatement if you’re rated. You must pay a 15% social tax on the remaining income.
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Omotenashi_host just wondering if you still have your place in Okinawa? And how you interrupt the new laws being implemented June 15th? Thanks for your input

Have you read the new Minpaku law coming in June? Without a permit, which cost $2000, if you can get a permit from your property manager and hire real estate agent to run your Airbnb listing? I would love to hear what you think and what the likelihood that Airbnb will delist everyone who doesn’t have the permit.

Our city in SE Washington state just banned non-owner occupied vacation rentals but those already in existence can stay until sold provided they licensed them before a set deadline. Owner-occupied rentals are allowed but must be licensed and inspected.

I live in the county were there are currently no regulations but the county council is taking the issue up so they are not in conflict with the city regs. It will be interesting to see how the county handles it. We are an agricultural community (livestock, wheat, wine, hay, & corn) with nothing smaller than 10 acres and most in the hundreds to thousands. My rental home is non-owner occupied but is located adjacent to my house on 60 acres. My nearest neighbor is a quarter mile away. Stay tuned for the county’s ruling…

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