Airbnb has cancelled thousands of home listings in the past day. Due to that, over 60,000 homes, apartments, and rooms are affected and have been removed from the site, leaving around only 13,800 on the site.
The move was made in conjunction with Japan’s new minpaku law that will be in full effect on June 15. This came as a shock to the online marketplace company as they were instructed to cancel reservations made at unregistered residences jus two weeks before the June 15 deadline.
In case you’re heading to Japan soon, here’s a brief update on the Airbnb crisis, and what you need to know to prepare for its consequences.
1. What is this new law?
The large drop in the number of listings comes after the government announced efforts to crack down on illegal private lodgings and place restrictions on the processes where legal facilities may operate. According to several media outlets, Minpaku is part of the Japanese Hotel and Inns Act which requires anyone who wishes to rent out their properties would need to register and get a license in order to maintain an active status on Airbnb.
Once the law comes into effect, it instantly limits home-sharing to ONLY 180 days a year for each listing, making it difficult for property owners to make profit.
2. Am I affected?
Those who are going to Japan in mid-June will most likely be affected. Some have estimated that as much as 80 percent bookings have been impacted by the new changes. Thus, we highly advise that you to check with your respective hosts on the status of your booking.
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler on Flickr
While Airbnb supports the government’s decision, the company has also decided to create a 10-million-dollar fund to cover cancelled reservations.
If, by any chance, that your Airbnb listing happens to be removed, don’t panic! You will get a FULL refund (accommodations and flight change fees) and Airbnb credit worth “at least 100% of the booking value” for future Airbnb bookings, and also a $100 coupon for any Airbnb experience.
3. What do I do next?
Affected guests MUST email Airbnb and submit copies of the relevant receipts to get reimbursed within two to four weeks. However, if your reservation starts on or after June, you may find the information you need to apply for reimbursement here.
Just be sure to have your receipts and submit them as soon as possible along with your explanation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Are there alternatives to Airbnb?
Those who are still coming to Japan and looking for alternative places besides hotels and hostels, you will be put in touch with Japan Travel Bureau, a travel agency that will help you find alternatives.
Credit: @rakuna_stay_japan on Facebook
Another platform you can check out is Stay Japan, a home-sharing marketplace just like Airbnb, but with licensed rentals, hotels and guest houses. The website currently states that any reservation made with them will not be cancelled due to the new law, so you can be rest assured that they stay true to their words. We hope so too!