A London council says nearly half of the Airbnb-style short let properties available in its patch last year exceeded their legal 90-night letting allowance.
Camden council collected data on entire homes available for short term let throughout 2019 and of the approximately 7,100 homes available, about 3,400 - some 48 per cent - exceeded the 90-night allowance.
The council says this represents over half of the homes needed in the borough to help the 6,000 families on the council’s housing waiting list.
However, the council admits that it is difficult to effectively locate properties being used for short term let.
A statement from the authority says: “Avoidance tactics such as listing a property across multiple sites, using different locations and different photos make it harder for local authorities to effectively enforce breaches of the de-regulation act, which allows properties to be rented for up to 90-nights without applying for planning permission.”
Therefore, the true extent to which the short term let market is being exploited remains a hidden issue and often only comes to light when residents are frequently disturbed by tourists, says the council.
Now the council wants a mandatory register or licensing system for short let properties so that the 90-night law can be properly enforced.
Camden council plans to introduce a short let pilot scheme later this year, in which the authority will work with residents on finding properties in short let use and raising awareness of the 90-night limit.
A spokesman says: “Homes are being lost at a time of significant need and most short term lets are two to four bed properties, the very same properties that are desperately needed by local families. Without these properties available locally, a knock-on effect is felt as prices remaining sky-high and desperate families go on being trapped, unable to move on from often unsuitable and overcrowded conditions.”
“However, there is only so much that we are able to do within the current system that is too easily exploited. Multiple listings, different addresses and different photos all for the same property make enforcement near impossible while our housing supply is being quietly decimated.
“Often unscrupulous businesses, breaking the law, are making serious money while local residents see ever higher rents and ongoing disturbance.”