New team of inspectors to investigate illegal Airbnb rentals in Iceland

Government invests heavily in a bid to clampdown on Airbnb rentals in Iceland.

reykjavik Tim Wright
Reykjavik City. Credit: Tim Wright / Unsplash

The Icelandic government has agreed to invest further in efforts to limit Airbnb rentals. The District Commissioner for Reykjavík will oversee the implementation of the measure, as well as a new team of eight inspectors who are to investigate tips on illegal rentals.

In 2016, Reykjavík had 5,178 active units listed on Airbnb according to Airdna data. As in many cities, home-sharing in the Icelandic capital has caused growing tensions between those who seek to make money by renting out properties to tourists and those who need affordable housing. Last year, the number of days property owners in Iceland can rent out their homes, was limited to 90 days per year. Anything surpassing that number is considered commercial accommodation and regulated and taxed as such.

Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, the minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation, hopes the measures will bring on positive results. “We want the sharing-economy to flourish but without negatively affecting local businesses and the local population,” Þórdís Kolbrún explained.

The minister says the government will continue to regulate short-term rentals to tourists but according to data from Airbnb the typical host in Iceland earned 11.300 USD last year. Making the Icelanders the highest paid Airbnb hosts in the world.