The 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 – which has about 50,000 listings in the capital – 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.
Sadiq 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.
In his letter, Sadiq 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.”
Charlotte Snelling, IPPR researcher on housing, said: “IPPR research shows that home sharing in London has the potential to cause problems in future – particularly in high pressure areas.
“IPPR welcomes the Mayor’s intervention today to encourage greater self-regulation in the sector.
“We have argued for an industry-wide commitment to introduce blocks on hosts to prevent them from exceeding the 90-day limit, and to work together to ensure this is observed across all platforms, to close loopholes and promote a responsible form of letting which helps the capital to succeed and thrive.”