Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

Iceland hits back at Airbnb and other short-time let – updated

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When things get big in Iceland they get big, proportionally at least. There are 540 inhabitants in Vík, Mýrdalur – and 1300 spaces for short-time lets. Could that be a world record? Or only comparable to Venice, Cinque Terre etc…

Record or not, the Vík Council has now announced it will now stop granting licence for short-time lets. There is enough on offer in the village. Those who already hold licenses can extend them until 2022 so this isn’t a clamp-down but a mere halt on further expansion.

Apart from spaces offered by the locals there are examples that houses have been bought or built solely for the purpose of short-time lets for tourists. The Council points out that these houses, often empty, add nothing to the village life except a bit of cash, not necessarily profiting the local community if the owners live elsewhere.

Earlier, the Icelandic Supreme Court ruled in a case where flat-owners in one of the luxurious high-rises along Skúlagata, close to the music house Harpan, sought a confirmation that flat-owners need to agree to short-time lets; one owner can’t ignore the neighbours. The Court ruled in favour of the flat-owners. This does change the environment for short-time letters.

In the meantime, there is no lack of Airbnb and other letting suitable for tourists. However, this summer and the whole year will see an unprecedented number of tourists in Iceland. Bar eruptions etc. this year it’s likely there will be more than the 1.5m who came last year. If you are heading to Iceland, make sure you have your accommodation secured – there might be plenty of flights available, never so much on offer, but accommodation might at times be scarce.

*May 14, the local council in Kirkjubæjarklaustur decided to restrict bed & breakfast/home accommodation: no more than ten places will get permission and only if certain criteria met. The council motivates its decision by pointing out that lack of housing, i.a. because of lack of land to build on, prevents development at Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

May 4th, 2016 at 10:16 am

Posted in Uncategorised

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