From Iceland — Court Makes Historic Ruling On Guest Accommodation

Court Makes Historic Ruling On Guest Accommodation

Published April 11, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Marek Ślusarczyk/Wikimedia Commons

A new Supreme Court ruling has given more power to Icelandic residents when it comes to guest accommodation.

RÚV reports that the Supreme Court has ruled that a structure housing multiple residents – such as an apartment building – needs the permission of everyone living in that structure before the owners can rent out any of the rooms or apartments therein for guest accommodation. Furthermore, residents are not required to offer a reason for denying said permission.

The case arose when residents of an apartment building on Vatnsstígur in downtown Reykjavík, represented by their resident chairperson, filed a complaint against the owners of three apartments in the building. The residents were unhappy that these apartments were being rented out to tourists, as the noise levels were far greater than the residents were comfortable with.

The owners disagreed, saying that they had every right to use their properties in any way they saw fit, and did not need the permission of other residents in the building to rent out a few apartments to tourists.

The Supreme Court disagreed with the owners, pointing out that existing legislation requires property owners of such structures who are planning changes that would increase the level of noise or disturbance within the building to get the approval of every resident in said building first.

The ruling could have a dramatic impact on guest accommodation in Reykjavík, and in Iceland in general. In related news, police have already begun raids of locations advertised on AirBnB, in the hopes of rooting out the running of guest accommodations without an operation license.

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