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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Accreditation bid to boost standards of Airbnb and other short lets

An accreditation scheme has been launched for the fast-growing sector of short lets and home sharing. 

The UK Short Term Accommodation Association, which was set up two years ago, describes itself as the sector’s trade body “promoting and driving best practice among its members across the UK.”

It says it ran a pilot accreditation programme last year devised and delivered by an independent organisation called Quality in Tourism handling tourism and hospitality industry assessments. 

The STAA says its accreditation will be a kitemark-style indicator that will cover homeowners who want to rent out their property for a week or two while they go on holiday, through to companies who manage homes.

Those in the scheme will be independently checked every year to ensure they are safe - so, for example, have an up to date gas certificate and working Carbon Monoxide detectors - and clean because “any guest should expect and achieves minimum standards equivalent to the traditional sector.”

The check will also have a compliance element, to ensure each property is insured and abides by appropriate laws and regulations. 

Heather Wheeler MP, the housing minister, says: “Short-term lettings help households to boost their income by renting out their under-used accommodation, which in turn promotes economic growth through tourism. However, it is crucial that consumers can have confidence in the accommodation they book and in those responsible for sharing, hosting and managing that accommodation." 

“We supported the STAA’s work with Westminster City Council to set up the Considerate Nightly Let Charter last year, helping hosts to avoid disrupting their neighbours. 

“I am delighted to see the STAA taking further steps to drive up standards and promote best practice by introducing this independent accreditation scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – and leading the way in creating a set of standards to help consumers navigate our growing sharing economy.”

Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA, adds: “I am passionate about setting the bar for high standards in our growing industry and delighted that short-term accommodation hosts and property management companies can now all apply to be independently assessed and accredited on their ‘safe, clean and legal’ standards. It is a great example of the concrete steps that the STAA is taking to increase consumer transparency and create an environment for the responsible growth of the short-term accommodation industry.” 

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