An increase in tourism has made a negative impact on the local rental market, the head of the Renters’ Association of Iceland contends, causing both apartment scarcity and rising rental costs.
Vísir reports that tourists have shown a greater willingness to pay much higher rent for a shorter amount of time than a local would – or could – pay for the same property in the long term. In some cases, tourists have paid the same rent on an apartment for a few days that a local would be accustomed to paying for a month’s rent.
Jóhann Már Sigurbjörnsson, the chairperson of the Renters’ Association of Iceland, says that locals simply cannot compete with tourists on the rental market. In some cases, he says, renters have been asked by landlords to vacate their properties during high tourist season.
“This condition implies that renters have to pack up their stuff and move out while landlords rent out the property to tourists,” he told reporters. “The government, local authorities, and even labour unions must respond to this. There are thousands of apartments going off the rental market and onto the tourist market. Nothing comes in their place.”
Perhaps one of the better encapsulations of the frustration many locals are experiencing with trying to find a place to rent is in this GoFundMe campaign, “Cardboard Box Renovation”.
“I am renting out my future home, my cardboard box, through AirBnB and I need to raise money to renovate it to make it more attractive for the tourist market in Reykjavik,” the poster writes, with an asking bid of $6,000 USD. $1,025 USD have been raised at the time of this writing.