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MP raises concerns over Airbnb's impact on London market

An MP has written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, raising concerns over the effect short-term lets regulations are having on the London property market. 

In his letter, Iain Wright MP, who is chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee, draws attention to investigations into Airbnb and similar websites which found that landlords are letting properties via these platforms for more than 90 days a year.

In 2015, short-term lets in the UK were deregulated. Property owners are now allowed to rent out their premises without asking for permission as long as it is for fewer than 90 nights each year.

Wright says that many of these investigations concluded that the new rules are unenforceable. 

The MP for Hartlepool says his committee's recent research into the digital economy found that while sites like Airbnb give homeowners the platform to 'unlock economic value', 'extensive use' of these sites by professional landlords is contributing towards driving up property prices.

The letter also draws on concerns raised by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) that Airbnb-style lets allow landlords to circumvent tax, food, health and fire safety regulations.

Wright's letter challenges the Mayor for his views on the situation:

"Although I understand that enforcement of the 90-day rule is the responsibility of individual London councils, I would welcome your own assessment of the impact of companies such as Airbnb on London and your views on whether the existing law should be amended." 

The letter was copied to the London Councils umbrella body, the BHA and Airbnb.

Earlier this month, Airbnb responded to claims made by the Residential Landlords Association, claiming the landlord body had used 'misleading research'.

Back in May, landlords in Berlin were banned from using Airbnb to let complete apartments or houses in the German capital.

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    There are many leasehold apartments advertised on Airbnb who operate against the terms of their lease , as short stay will not operate on an AST , and importantly they will not be covered in most cases on the block insurance policy, they would need a specific policy to operate as a serviced short stay property or holiday let. Landlords cannot double insure their property, so they are not insured, and so have no Public Liability Cover.....would you run a holiday let without Public Liability Cover ?

    A good starting point would be to approach the leasehold management blocks controlling blocks where leasehold apartments are being advertised on Airbnb and remind them that they should be taking action to prevent apartments being let out in this way.

    Further ask Airbnb to check their landlords have public liability cover in place, a simple basic requirement.

    Airbnb are starting to target the corporate let market- Relocation agents and companies beware, lets make it common knowledge in the industry that many apartments advertised on Airbnb are simply not insured - clients should avoid.

  • Mark Hempshell

    A good point. Renting through Air BNB is a bit like hailing a minicab or private hire on the streets. It's cheaper for a reason.

    But doesn't all this demand for apartments by the day indicate that there is an unexploited business opportunity going begging here?

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