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Graham Awards


Regulate Airbnb-style lets or risk hurting long term market - warning

The rapid growth of Airbnb-style short lets could lead to the loss of private rented homes and displacement of long-term residents from their communities if left unregulated.

That’s the view of the Chartered Institute of Housing: in its UK Housing Review 2019 it says that Airbnb alone has over 77,000 lets in Greater London, 55.4 per cent of which are entire homes. 

The bulk of the lets are heavily concentrated in Westminster (8,328), Tower Hamlets (7,513), and Hackney (5,907) boroughs.


Edinburgh has over 10,000 short-term lets, with its city centre ward alone having two Airbnb lets for every 13 homes, while the Isle of Skye in rural Scotland has one Airbnb letting for every 10 houses.

The analysis makes clear from the concentration of short-term lets in particular locations across the country that the rise of Airbnb has been a highly localised phenomenon. 

It has created what the CIH calls ‘globalhoods’ - ultra-desirable neighbourhoods drawing in visitors from across the globe at an ever-increasing rate.

The institute says therewould be cause for concern if these properties have moved from the private rented sector to the short-term lettings sector for part of each year, and even greater cause for concern if they were now permanent short-term lets, unavailable to locals.

It says the possible impacts of the growth in short-term lets include:

- Non-compliance by hosts with existing regulations, such as insurance, fire safety and planning permission;

- Prolonged loss of communal spaces, conveniences and facilities, since it is not just homes, but entire neighbourhoods, that are being shared; and

- Impact on local housing markets both with respect to rising rents and increased property values, especially in quite tightly bounded local areas, such as Edinburgh’s New Town.

Practical suggestions for tackling these issues include improved council data on short lets, a tourism tax, and planning caps on the number of short lets in one location.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE says: “Digital platforms like Airbnb have brought great convenience to tourists who come to enjoy our cities and communities, as well as economic benefit to their hosts and local areas. 

“However, if left unregulated, there is a real risk of loss of much-needed housing from the private rented sector to the short-term lets market, and displacement of long-term residents. 

“We need to find a way to accommodate the housing needs of individual residents while allowing tourism to continue in our most popular locations. More regulation could be necessary if growth continues and local authorities still have no way to accurately monitor numbers.” 

  • icon

    Terrie is dealing with symptoms rather than causes. Indeed he completely missed the reasons that landlords are moving from long-term lets to short-term Air BnB type. For someone in charge of the CIH this is extremely disappointing and worrying.

    The current taxation on landlords has forced many to quit the long-term market and move to the more profitable Air BnB type of let, just to pay HMRC. You then throw in licensing costs and the ever-increasing tomes of legislation and it just isn't viable for many to offer housing to renters.

  • Bryan Shields

    Forgive them as they dont understand the PRS, and so on for the consequenses that will occur due to their interventions. Or in other words God help us all.

  • icon
    • 09 April 2019 22:42 PM

    LL will just operate illegal short term lettings.
    Very few of these lettings conform to terms and conditions of mortgages; leases, insurance.
    There is very little chance to locate all these illegal short term lettings.
    They CAN'T even find the rogue LL.
    These short term lettings are being carried out by what were honest LL.
    S24 is forcing LL to behave dishonestly.
    Nobody can blame them for behaving this way caused by the ludicrous S24.
    So just by abolishing S24 things will revert to the status quo before S24.
    That would be the sensible thing to do.
    There is no way Councils will be able to restrict short term lettings.
    They might believe they can but you ONLY have to see how unsuccessful London Councils have been in preventing short term lettings to see that detecting such lettings is a logistical impossibility.
    All this is caused by S24.
    The simplest thing to do would be to abolish S24

    S l
    • S l
    • 10 April 2019 00:21 AM

    The council could sue the short term let by creating another policy to forbid air bnb without planning permission just like they did with hmo. Easy peasy. They dont even have to broadcast it to the world. So long as they come up with the regulations, they can instigate a court action against the owner of the house.

  • icon
    • 10 April 2019 00:50 AM

    There are still many unlicensed HMO.
    There has been no prosecution of any LL for exceeding the 90 day period.
    There was a recent TV programme which showed how to game the system.
    Only by abolishing S24 will LL revert to AST lettings.
    Lenders are doing nothing to ascertain whether their LL are complying with their mortgage conditions.
    The facts are there is mass breaching of terms and conditions by LL.
    Vast swathes of the PRS is based on LL gaming the system .Rarely do any gaming LL ever get caught.
    When was tha last time a LL had a loan called in for letting without CTL!?
    There are roughly 1 million LL gaming the system.
    From Accidental LL to AirBnB
    This number will reduce as many A LL will sell up to avoid being clobbered with large CGT bills after April 2021 or 2020
    There will be millions of homeless tenants
    Any LA that does not have proof that the property owner has CTL will be complicit in fraud.
    LA cannot afford to risk what a LL tells them.
    They will need proof.
    This will result in many LL withdrawing their properties fron LA management at a time when LA cannot afford to lose business even if it is corrupt business.
    I feel really sorry for LA.
    They are being hit severely by Govt regulations.
    But LA cannot afford to be any part if a LL gaming the system.
    The corrupt LL will be forced to self-manage as no honest LA will take them on.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 10 April 2019 07:58 AM

    The council and MPs are doing a good job of it without regualting air bnb. How are they suppose to regulate peoples home? surely that is not allowed? It would seem that a man's home is no longer his castle

    • 10 April 2019 08:32 AM

    That is correct.
    Try having five occupants in a residential property without having to apply for a Mandatory HMO Licence which means room sizes must be compliant.
    A residential property is now subject to certain regulations if used a certain way.
    Of course a homeowner can ignore such regulations there being very little chance of ever being discovered..
    The Big Brother Connect computer CAN'T presently catch these homeowners out


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