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Graham Awards


Airbnb and government attacked over 'under-regulated' short term lets

The outgoing chief of Whitbread PLC has made a scathing attack on Airbnb and the government for its approach to what he calls “unregulated” short lets by landlords.

Andy Harrison, who steps down from his post next month, says start-ups like Airbnb are given more relaxed and less regulated freedoms to operate from more established operators. 

Although Harrison’s concern is for the hotel sector - his company operates the Premier Inn budget brand - his views will be echoed by a number of landlords and letting agents operating in the private rental sector too.

In his summer Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced improved tax breaks for people who rent out spare rooms and homes - including those using Airbnb - while reducing tax breaks for buy to let landlords in the established private rental sector.

"It's a fact that the government is not keeping up with the pace of change of technology. I don't think they are putting a sufficiently strong requirement on the new companies to follow the same regulations as we do" Harrison has told the CBI conference.


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