Members of the short-term letting industry, including the likes of Airbnb, yesterday joined local authorities and community groups at City Hall to talk about growing concerns about contributions of home-sharing platforms on London’s housing crisis.
Nearly one-quarter of homes in the capital listed on Airbnb are thought to have been rented for over 90 days last year. Many were done so illegally and in breach of an act designed to stop landlords turning housing into unofficial hotels.
According to Airbnb, 4,938 of its home London listings-23% of the overall total-were let for three months or more. This is despite a law requiring anyone doing this to apply for planning consent.
Yesterday’s meeting saw the website reaffirm its commitment to the 90 day limit and to stop landlords from letting their properties beyond the set limit.
After the meeting, Labour’s London Assembly housing spokesperson Tom Copley AM, said there is. ‘clear consensus over the need to collaborate to stop short-term lettings sites being abused by professional landlords.’
Official guidance issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2015 removed the need for planning permission to rent out a room or property as temporary accommodation for less than 90 days per year. While this limit remains, local authorities believe it is difficult to enforce.
Mr Copley went on to say: ‘We know that some landlords are essentially transforming long-term homes without planning permission. This meeting showed that there is clear consensus over the need to collaborate to stop short-term lettings sites being abused by professional landlords.’
‘Local authorities just don’t have the resources they need to enforce the 90 day limit and so it falls to providers to step in. It’s hugely welcome that Airbnb have stuck their heads above the parapet. We need others in the industry to now follow suit and to work together on enforcing the 90 day limit, including sharing data with boroughs where necessary,’ he continued.
Moving on, Copley said: ‘There is no disputing the many economic benefits to Londoners of tourism that Airbnb and their counterparts create. We must ensure the costs don’t outweigh the benefits by preventing commercial landlords from taking advantage of the system and putting even more pressure on our housing supply.’
‘It’s also crucial that hotels and the hospitality sector don’t face unfair competition from professional landlords setting up as hotels by the back door, avoiding taxes and regulations.Yesterday’s meeting was a positive discussion about the need to ensure hosts cannot break the law by letting out properties short-term for more than 90 days per year. However, effective enforcement hinges upon effective legislation from government and we need them round the table for any future discussion. I look forward to continuing this work with platforms, boroughs, community groups, the GLA and central government to ensure short term lettings are effectively regulated,’ he concluded.