Calls made for more 90 day short-let limits

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called on online short-term letting agents to follow Airbnb’s lead by blocking hosts from renting out homes in the capital for more than 90 days.

Airbnb announced in December last year that it would place a block on its website so its hosts in London could not make more than 90 nights of bookings a year for their entire home without planning permission.

It was a decision welcomed by the Mayor, who last year wrote to the Home Affairs Select Committee raising concerns that letting properties in the capital on a short-term basis all year round could lead to a loss of London’s much needed housing stock.

Following discussions with local councils across the capital, he was keen to find a better way for them to balance the right of Londoners benefiting from renting out their homes for short periods with the protection of local residents and the retention of housing for long-term use.

Khan welcomed Airbnb’s very positive and forward-thinking introduction of the 90-day lettings block – and yesterday wrote to six other online short-term letting agents operating in London, urging them to do the same. They include Veeve, One Fine Stay, Wimdu, Booking.com, HomeAway and Airsorted.

The Mayor supports Londoners being able to benefit from renting out their homes for short periods. The popularity of short-term lets in London with visitors from around the world is further evidence that London is Open.

He also believes the industry will benefit by ensuring its customers comply with the law and that, by self-regulating, it can offer an alternative to calls for government intervention. He is also urging all operators of short-term letting platforms to work with boroughs across the capital to help them in undertaking enforcement action where necessary.

In his letter Khan said: “While Airbnb accounts for a substantial share of the short-term lettings market in London, there are many other operators, such as yours, who occupy the same space. I am keen to see a cross-industry response to this issue, to help local authorities enforce the law.

“I therefore strongly encourage your company to follow Airbnb’s lead, by ensuring that customers of yours who want to let properties in London on a short-term basis for more than the 90-day annual cumulative limit are restricted from doing so through your website, unless they can prove that they have the relevant planning permission.”

Sir Steve Bullock, executive member for housing at London Councils, said: “London Councils welcomed the steps taken by Airbnb to ensure its activities do not have a negative impact on the capital’s already extremely challenging housing situation.

“Ensuring short-term rentals advertised with all providers are being used in line with planning laws is a vital step in tackling a housing crisis which impacts on all Londoners – and we welcome this further intervention by the Mayor to ask other companies to follow Airbnb’s example.”

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