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Airbnb tells Korean hosts to register properly

Oct 22,2016
Airbnb started canceling registration of Korean hosts that do not follow the laws on house-sharing, as requested by the government.

On Thursday, the global house-sharing platform sent an e-mail to Korean hosts whose accommodations do not meet legal standards, saying that they will not be able to receive reservation requests and their offers will not appear on the website’s search results starting from Nov. 15. Airbnb will start deleting hosts that have not reported to the central and local governments that they are operating lodging businesses.

Its starting point will be hosts in officetels, the Korean term for studio flats in buildings that are rented for both residential and commercial purposes. Under current law, they are recognized as spaces for offices and therefore are prohibited to be used for accommodation rentals.

Moreover, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s regulations on home-sharing for foreign tourists clearly state that if a Korean host wants to offer a room to foreigners, he or she has to be living in that same accommodation. The system was devised to promote foreigners learning Korean culture by living with locals.

The measure is expected to have considerable impact on domestic Airbnb hosts, of which an estimated 70 percent are not registered with the government. The number of Korean accommodations registered with Airbnb was 19,000 units until August. June statistics released by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism revealed that there were only 4,220 units registered for home-sharing for foreigners in Seoul.

On Wednesday, New York City proposed a law to ban people from putting whole apartments on short-term rent for 30 days or under.


BY KIM YOUNG-MIN, SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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