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Tokyo’s Ota Ward approves first short-term, Airbnb-style home rentals
  source:The Japan Times

Tokyo’s Ota Ward on Friday gave permission to an online travel service provider to start renting out private homes on the popular Airbnb model.

It became the first municipality to allow home sharing on a short-term rental basis to accommodate swelling ranks of foreign visitors, although it is requiring stays to be for a minimum of six nights — in a nod to potential lost trade by hotels.

Ota Ward, home to Haneda airport, is launching its so-called minpaku (private stay) program as part of deregulation measures pushed by the central government to ease Tokyo’s hotel shortage.

On Friday, Tomareru, based in Chiyoda Ward, had its application for renting out a house and a condo room approved. The ward plans to accredit more applicants in the coming months, officials said, citing a rising number of businesses expressing interest.

Ota Ward — and the national government — hope that by expanding minpaku they can alleviate the shortage of hotel rooms in the metropolis and accommodate more foreign travelers in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Under the rules set forth by the Ota Ward Office, those wishing to rent out private housing must notify in writing all neighbors within 10 meters of the rented property before an application is made. The local fire department must also be consulted beforehand.

Also under Ota Ward’s rules, minimum stays are set at six nights and seven days. Guest information such as names, contact numbers and passport numbers must be kept for at least three years, in case they are needed by the police.

A host must also give neighbors a phone number they can call to make complaints and must be ready to respond to emergency inquiries in foreign languages.


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