New research claims that one in every 50 homes in the capital is let on a short-term platform like Airbnb or similar.
London Councils, a cross-party group representing all 32 boroughs and the City of London Corporation, found 73,549 listings for London homes on online letting platforms such as Airbnb last month.
This is the first time the total number of London listings across the leading platforms has been compiled.
London Councils claims that the capital currently faces the most severe homelessness crisis in the country with around 56,000 households in temporary accommodation – accounting for nearly 70 per cent of the national total.
It says borough councils are concerned that the proliferation of short-term lets means less housing supply for permanent residents while driving up prices in the private rental sector, worsening affordability.
A statement from the cross-party group says: “Short-term lets are also increasingly associated with spikes in crime and anti-social behaviour. Boroughs report growing numbers of complaints from local residents about short-term lets used as ‘party houses’ and bases for prostitution and drug dealing.”
Cities such as Paris and Barcelona have implemented mandatory registration schemes for short-term lets and impose heavy fines on rule breaches; the Scottish government has recently accepted that councils north of the border should have powers to introduce licensing schemes.
The umbrella body is calling for similar measures, including mandatory registration of short-term lets and stronger powers for local authorities to protect housing stock and clamp down on irresponsible property owners.
Group spokesman councillor Darren Rodwell says: “At a time when almost one in 50 Londoners is homeless, it’s ridiculous that potentially one in 50 London homes is rented out as a short-term let.
“Although short-term lets listed on digital platforms offer benefits to some Londoners, the market is growing out of control. Boroughs are hearing more and more complaints about short-term lets linked to antisocial behaviour and even criminality.
“The priority has to be protecting Londoners’ interests. That’s why we’re calling on the government to introduce much stronger regulation of this sector. Changes to government legislation are essential for giving local authorities the powers we need to keep check on short-term lets in our communities and defend our residents.
“The Scottish government’s recent announcement shows London risks being left behind on this issue – especially when you look at the regulatory powers and resources other cities around the world have already got. We look forward to working with ministers so we can ensure London is better placed to tackle this challenge.”