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Noose tightens around Airbnb 'hosts' who abuse lettings system

Local authorities appear to be at the forefront of identifying abuses of the Airbnb short-let platform and have called executives from the company to a meeting to consider how to solve the problem.

Many councils, especially in London, believe some unscrupulous landlords are not using their properties for long-term tenants and instead use them for serial high-revenue holiday lets, often in contravention of planning regulations.

The Times newspaper says it has seen correspondence from London Mayor Sadiq Khan suggesting that he would take action against the company if required.

Khan says that he has “concerns” that Airbnb is exacerbating the housing crisis by reducing the stock of long-term rentals. In addition, neighbours of some Airbnb properties are experiencing anti-social behaviour from short-let tenants such as noise and rubbish pollution.

The Times says Khan “supports the right of people to benefit from renting out their homes for short periods” but believes this should be balanced with strategic needs.

The letter finishes: “If boroughs [councils] are finding that the legislation needs to be revisited to make sure that we find a better way of balancing the benefits of the sharing economy with the protection of local residents and the retention of housing for long-term use, then I will be happy to work with them and discuss with government whether any changes may be needed.”

A range of surveys has suggested that many of the properties now advertised on Airbnb are not owned by individual owner occupiers away for a short time, but are owned by landlords. The Times says that in London alone there are more than 20,000 entire properties listed on Airbnb, a 24 per cent increase in four months.

Homeowners in the capital must apply for planning permission if their property is used for short lets of more than 90 days a year.

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    Lots of tenants (in Scotland as well) use airbnb to sublet illegally. But in Scotland, landlords should be responsible for all wrong doings no matter who did it (ridiculous). This is similar to Paypal system, lots of opportunities, but full of unknown risks. For example, how many people hold the same keys of the same property? Do you feel safe when you rent a room from airbnb? if hundreds and thousands of people could have a copy of your keys? Airbnb should be banned until properly regulated.

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    Airbnb should be banned - or deliver to the tax authorities the revenue figures from all their 'clients' or face charges of aiding tax avoidance. Why not make them an employer and charge NI and income tax at nill tax free allowance to all their clients? if this is not done, are 'normal' tax paying people like me actually subsidising these racketeers? I suggest we are?

    Personally I hate AirBNB because of the 17000 properties in London which should be available to local people as long term housing, and cheating the hotel industry out of fee paying guests. For all those 17000 London, properties, not to mention elsewhere in the country, how many hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms and VAT, and tax paying businesses are losing out?
    Instead of the chancellor trying to force genuine private landlords away from being landlords with even more taxation, why not sort out this stupid mess, as the French government and the politicians of New York and Barcelona are doing ?
    Where are CAB and Generation RENT, and SHELTER and Help the Aged in all this? I haven't heard them shouting about helping the homeless be using the properties already available and clearly habitable for the people that need somewhere to live?
    AND there is the health and safety issue, who is monitoring the smoke, and carbon monoxide alarms, the gas safety certificates, the electrical systems , the standards of cleanliness?

    The lack of clear thinking and action from government on issues like this is just appalling.

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    Actually I find it really frustating living in an ex-local that is it more hassle than it is worth to let my home on Air BnB because of the meddling interfering stance of the local council - having paid many thousands of pounds to buy my home I would hope to have the freedom to do what I want with it - including let it out when I'm, on holiday to try and recoup some of the ridiculously high costs I have to pay to go abroad because of having children and therefore being only 'allowed' by the (equally meddling and interfering) LEA to travel during school holidays at peak prices.
    It would also solve the problem and stress of leaving a property unoccupied in a neighbourhood where there's a lot of burglary and help someone out with children like myself so they get to stay somewhere homely with toys and a family atmosphere at a price they can afford - WIN-WIN
    - but of course not - too many rules, too much red tape, too much blaming landlords for every problem with the economy............

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    Hi Alix. I think from what you describe you are doing nothing wrong at all. Indeed that is the very thing that AirBnB is designed to help. And by doing so not only do you gain from letting out whilst you are out, the community wins as well because the tourist income will be spread into the local economy through whatever your guests choose to buy locally. In fact guests are more likely to eat out than local residents so a boost would be given to restaurants nearby as well as any tourist attractions. The law says 90 days in the year you can go this on a C3 property (home). Beyond that and you need a planning change to C1.

     
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    I would like to see government to ban airbnb until it is properly regulated. Airbnb creates lots of dark corners for the illegal issues. In hotels, we have to provide passport to check in; in private letting, we need to apply Right to Rent and Right to Let. What airbnb does to follow the legal requirements?
    Again, Please be fair to most of the landlords, this is what happened, when the government pushed too hard without thoughtful thoughts, even good ones will look for loop hole to run business.

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