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Airbnb hits back at industry claims over 'unregulated' private lettings

Airbnb has hit back at a claim by the Residential Landlords Association that lets promoted by the firm effectively worsened London’s housing crisis.

Letting Agent Today yesterday carried the RLA’s claim that 61 per cent of homes and apartments listed on Airbnb in London in June were advertised as being available for more than 90 days per year. 

The association claims this is effectively turning them into long term accommodation without appearing at first sight to abide by the regulations, safety and insurance provisions covering the traditional private rented sector.

Now Airbnb has issued a strongly worded statement accusing the RLA of using “misleading research that deliberately confuses availability with nights booked.” 

It says the typical Airbnb host in London “shares their space” for 50 nights a year and generated £1.3 billion of economic activity in the capital last year. 

It also strongly disputes a claim by the RLA that 41 per cent of all Airbnb listings in London in June were ‘multi-listings’, suggesting the property owners had more than one property listed. 

The statement from Airbnb reads: 

“Hosting on Airbnb puts money in the pockets of regular Londoners and helps them afford living costs in one of the world's most expensive cities. The typical London host earns an additional £3,500 by sharing their space for 50 nights a year and hosts generated £1.3 billion of economic activity in the capital last year. 

“More than a third of UK hosts earn below the median household income, and almost half rely on the extra income they make by sharing their homes to make ends meet. More here

“Availability and nights booked are not the same thing. The typical host in London shares their space for 50 nights a year. 

“The methodology of checking calendar availability is flawed because it assumes every hosts’ calendar is up to date. This is not the case. 

“It's not true that all hosts who share their space for more than 90 days are breaking the rules. Hosts can share their space for up to 90 days without permission. They can also share their space for more than 90 days with planning permission. The vast majority of Airbnb hosts are regular Londoners who share their homes to help make ends meet. 

“We remind hosts to check and follow local rules before they list their space, throughout the year and provide helpful information and links to official information on our responsible hosting page. That includes links to legislation and relevant government websites highlighting the key policies.  

“We are already meeting with London boroughs - including Camden and Westminster - on how we can work together to promote responsible home sharing, help inform hosts about home sharing rules and find solutions that support regular people who share their homes to pay their bills. 

“Like any innovation, we know Airbnb can present challenges, and we are 100% committed to being good partners for governments and regulators.” 

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