For Japan, the new home sharing laws were meant to create more rental opportunities so as to ensure that there would be no dearth of places to stay for tourists when the Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics happen. Instead, what has happened is just the opposite.
The new rules may potentially stifle Airbnb owners from renting their apartments, as it can stop them from offering the services. Some of the rules, for instance, say that you cannot rent out to strangers over the weekdays, and that’s exactly what and whom tourists are supposed to be. And then there is another ward in Tokyo, the Shibuya ward, who will only allow home sharing services during school holidays, so as to ensure that school children do not meet any strangers.
The rules are going to do more harm than good in a time when tourist inflow to Japan is at its highest in years – there were as many as 28.7 million tourists last year, an increase of over 19% from last year. And with Japan aiming to house as many as 40 million tourists a year by 2020, the above regulations are sure to make a dent.
Some Central government officials agree that excessive local limits could defeat the entire purposes but at the same time state that they have their hands tied since its a local policy. Some of the laws though can be easily implemented, like one that says that homeowners need to register their rental properties with the local government and carry out fire and safety checks. The owner has to also prove that he is mentally sound.
Airbnb, on its part, has said that it would weed out all non-compliant listings from its site.