Tel Aviv to hit Airbnb hosts with new tax
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Tel Aviv to hit Airbnb hosts with new tax

White City joins Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam in reining in short-term rent providers

Tel Aviv properties search page for AirBnB. Tel Aviv will raise taxes for short-term accommodation provided by services like Airbnb to match an increase in long-term rentals. (Screen capture, AirBnB)
Tel Aviv properties search page for AirBnB. Tel Aviv will raise taxes for short-term accommodation provided by services like Airbnb to match an increase in long-term rentals. (Screen capture, AirBnB)

Israel’s economic capital Tel Aviv on Monday announced plans to raise taxes for short-term accommodation provided by services like Airbnb to match an increase in long-term rentals.

“The aim is to create an equilibrium” between tourist accommodation and long-term rentals, the Tel Aviv municipality said in a statement.

Several cities, including Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam, also have taken steps to regulate services like Airbnb which offer short-term accommodation to tourists mainly.

In October, Ireland announced plans to rein in popular short-term rental services such as Airbnb — whose European headquarters are in Dublin — in a bid to address a historic housing shortage.

Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs Chris Lehane (2L) meets with Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan (2R) in the northern West Bank on December 18, 2018. (Samaria Regional Council)

The Tel Aviv municipality did not say by how much it would increase property taxes or when the new policy would take effect.

The Tel Aviv action came months after Airbnb’s decision to delist Jewish-owned properties in the West Bank.

In November, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin had said a special tax against Airbnb could be levied in retaliation after the vacation rental giant announced that it would be dropping all of its listings located in Israeli settlements. At the time, Levin had reached out to the Finance Ministry with a request to “impose a special and high tax” on Airbnb’s activities.

Despite pressure by the Israeli government, some American legislators like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and threats of boycotts and lawsuits, Airbnb is sticking by its policy of removing listings located in Israeli settlements.

Following the Airbnb move, competitor Booking.com announced it was not changing any of its policies regarding locations of properties it represents in Israel, saying it permits “all accommodation providers worldwide to list on our platform as long as they are in compliance with applicable laws.”

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