Fri, Jul 14, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Fines increased for illegal Airbnb rentals: bureau

ILLEGAL SERVICES:The Tourism Bureau said that previously it had been difficult to collect evidence to prove that people were renting out their apartment

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A rental unit with basic facilities is photographed in Chiayi County on Tuesday last week. People offering rentals to tourists and advertising their property on Airbnb and other Web sites face fines between NT$30,000 and NT$300,000, according to new regulations that came into force yesterday.

Photo: Ting Wei-chieh, Taipei Times

People offering to rent apartments to tourists and advertising them on Airbnb and other Web sites are to be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$300,000, the Tourism Bureau said, adding that the stricter penalty took effect yesterday.

The tougher punishment was stipulated following an amendment to Article 55 of the Act for the Development of Tourism (發展觀光條例) in January, the bureau said.

The fine for people advertising their apartment online aims to address the rise in violations and disputes by users of the illegal services, the bureau said.

Prior to the amendment, the bureau said it had been difficult to collect evidence to prove that illegal operators were renting out their spare rooms or apartments to travelers and charging them daily rent.

The new regulation states that people who do not hold a license to offer hotel rooms or other types of accommodation, and who disseminate, broadcast and publish the information about their illegal service in advertisements and publications, or on radio, television, the Internet or other media would face a penalty of between NT$30,000 and NT$300,000.

They also face an additional NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 fine if they are found to be running an illegal business.

The new regulations also apply to hotels, hostels and bed-and-breakfast establishments, the bureau said.

The fine for those operating hotel services without a license has been increased from between NT$90,000 and NT$450,000 to between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000, it said.

The bureau can order operators of illegal hotel services to cease their businesses immediately, it said.

Fines for travel agencies operating without a valid license have also been increased from between NT$90,000 and NT$300,000 to between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000.

Fines for hotels and hostels that increase their number of rooms without permission is between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000.

Bed-and-breakfast providers, on the other hand, would be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 for the same violation.

In addition, bed-and-breakfast providers who fail to register with the administrative authority before opening for business face a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.

Following a fatal bus crash in Taipei on Feb. 13 which killed 33 and injured 11, the new regulations also impose a higher fine of NT$50,000 for tour bus companies that fail to use legal vehicles and licensed drivers.

A tour bus company must also hire a representative who personally informs passengers about the facilities and evacuation routes when there is an emergency, the bureau said.

Tour bus operators failing to abide by the requirement would be fined NT$50,000, it said.

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