Airbnb might soon be legal in Japan

But the new status will come with strict rules.

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Mariella Moon
March 10th, 2017
In this article: airbnb, culture, diet, home, japan, law, rental

Looks like Airbnb is faring a lot better in Japan than in its own home: it might soon be able to legally operate within the country. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet has given its blessing to the proposed rules that will be imposed upon the service, and they're now on their way to be approved by Japan's National Diet. While home owners won't have to worry about breaking the law when they list their properties, the service's legalization comes with a price. The rules include a 180-day limit on rentals per year, and not all home owners are happy with the restriction.

As you know, some people buy properties with the intent of listing them on Airbnb all year round. It can be especially lucrative in Japan, with its booming tourism industry -- some hotels in the country can be fully booked months before Sakura season. In 2016, 3.7 million of the 24 million tourists who visited the island nation stayed in an Airbnb, making it the company's fastest-growing market.

The lack of proper regulation allows home owners to make a decent profit off their properties. But once Airbnb becomes legal, they'll have to secure a landlord's permit and an operating license to rent out their properties for over 180 days. They can't cheat either: the website will add a new feature that will automatically hide rentals that exceed the annual limit. The company's Japanese division knows that it could affect some of their hosts, but it believes what's important is "that there will now be clear rules governing home-sharing."

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