Airbnb is letting out a two-bedroom floating house on the Thames to publicise the changes in short term letting rules in London which have come into effect thanks to the coalition government’s Deregulation Act.
Under the act - passed by Parliament in February but only enacted in recent weeks - Londoners no longer have to abide by 1973 legislation which suggested that any resident of the capital who wanted to let out their home for less than 90 days must apply for planning permission, or else face a fine of up to £20,000 for each ‘offence’.
The coalition’s argument was that the laws were poorly and confusingly enforced across London, highlighted during the 2012 Olympics when tens of thousands of people are believed to have let their properties - without consent and without legal repercussion.
“We live in the 21st century, and London homeowners should be able to rent out their home for a short period without having to pay for a council permit. These laws date from the long-gone era of the Greater London Council and need to be updated for the internet age. We are putting in some common sense measures to protect local amenity, whilst allowing Londoners who go on holiday to make a bit of extra money by renting out their home whilst they are away” according to Brandon Lewis, the housing minister.
Many letting agencies and some authorities - notably Westminster Council - have raised objections to the liberalisation of the rules.