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Airbnb hits back at growing criticism of damage to rental sector

Airbnb has issued a lengthy statement in response to a recent raft of criticisms about the effects of soaring numbers of short lets.

The general statement does not address any one specific criticism, but defends the company’s approach; it says it’s “built on the foundation of helping people afford their homes and making communities stronger. “

Critics have included former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who has started a petition calling for planning law to be changed to stop family homes being turned into second homes and holiday lets; a Tory MP in Devon who wants to declare the Totnes area a “housing emergency” because of the number of Airbnb and other short lets; and Cornwall Council threatening legal action against the owners of former council homes who are allegedly breaking covenants by letting them through Airbnb.


The Airbnb statement claims the majority of people letting out rooms or houses via the platform do so as “an economic lifeline."

“Listings are typically rented for around 40 nights a year and travel on our platform in the UK generated an estimated £5.1 billion in economic activity in 2019 alone. As the pandemic has shifted travel trends from big cities to more rural areas, travel on our platform has boosted revenue streams for families and communities.”

The statement continues by saying that the organisation has 1,000 local agreements around the world and has introduced “a series of commitments on supporting short-term rental regulation and to ensure that travel benefits everyone.” 

It goes on: “In recent days, we have seen press reports of activity that goes against these values. We take housing concerns seriously and are today sharing our enduring commitment to helping make communities stronger:

1. We are clear that there is no place for unscrupulous landlords on Airbnb;

2. We commit to investigating cases that are brought to our attention by relevant authorities, where a tenant has been unfairly evicted from their property and it has subsequently been listed on Airbnb;

3. Where it is confirmed that laws have been broken or our Terms of Service have been breached, we will take appropriate action in response, which could include suspensions and deactivations.”

It claims Airbnb has ”led” calls for a UK host registration system to help local authorities regulate the short let sector and has contributed to a UK government tourist recovery plan. 


And the statement then says: “Under the system we have proposed, hosts would be required to obtain a registration number in order to list their homes on platforms such as Airbnb. Registration of short-term let operators will give local authorities better visibility over the scope of these activities in their area, enabling them to make better informed decisions about a range of issues, including housing.

“To address local housing concerns, Airbnb is also calling for new planning guidance that distinguishes between commercial and non-commercial activity. This would empower local authorities to exercise their existing powers to grant permission or restrict activity in an increasingly transparent and consistent way.”

It concludes by saying it has set out “a suite of tools” to support councils and communities in 10 locations including Cornwall, Devon, Cumbria, Brighton and Wales “through the responsible recovery of tourism in their areas.” 

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    40 nights a year ! Wow what a money spinner!

  • Billy the Fish

    Their comments are all about money and nothing about people. People need homes more than holidays during the 52 weeks of each year.


    Air BnB owner are bringing income to local shops, generating revenues for local councils and govt.

    Lack of Social Housing is due to an increase in illegal immigrants being prioritised for houses, and lack of building nee ones by the Council.
    PRS LL’s using Air BnB are helping to bring people to these areas, generating income for local businesses, shops, tourist attractions hence should be encouraged with more tax breaks to help the Council & Treasury.


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    Air BnB is spot on! I support Air BnB, and similar models helping local communities👍.
    Air BnB are supporting communities, helping homeowners live independently (especially disabled ones), as well as letting the visitors/tourists/project workers/temporary start etc enjoy safe homes during their short term visits at low costs therefore generating local employment, local shops sales, which will directly benefit the Council, abd govt.

    Devon and Cornwall by default are tourist areas as well, hence logically it makes sense to have multiple Air BnB/host homes.

    Clearly Liberals, Labour, Communism and anti British leaders & anti Britain, lazy, unscrupulous tenants don’t want the U.K. communities and home owners to thrive hence they keep starting these idiotic petitions with generation Rent to make even more unfair laws favouring the tenants.

    This in turn will result in hardworking landlords, accidental owners selling up, or keeping the properties empty with high costs of local hotels, resulting in people deciding not to visit the area due to high costs of hotels, home let’s.

    Devon and Cornwall, as well as other councils and govt leaders need to decide whether to continue encouraging lazy unscrupulous tenants by attacking PRS LL’s or help PRS LL’s by making bad tenants eviction easier within a week, and give tax breaks to encourage prosperity in local areas, helping homeowners especially disabled ones leas an independent lifestyle by using their homes for a small income, in return helping the Treasury by paying taxes.

    The fact is that Housing shortage is due to lack of social housing by the Council & home building by both Labour & Conservative govts.
    Short lets hosts are being used as scapegoats by the usual Labour & Liberal supported dishonest, unscrupulous tenants, people.

    #airbnbisgreat #supportairbnbforlocalprosperity

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    Its basically a shakedown of the PRS sector.

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    Here we go. Government has successfully trashed the letting sector. Now let’s have a go at the holiday sector. Legislation and government equals destruction.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    For the travelling consumer Airbnb is awesome. Ive used it loads and it has been fantastic. However, 2 years ago we saw the other side of Airbnb when we had Tenants illegally sublet a property- in contravention of planning/licvensing laws as well as the mortgage and buildings insurance. What's more, they did it badly bringing misery and disruption to the quiet mews it was on as 'guest' after guest had huge parties there.
    Airbnb not only flat out stated it would do nothing to address this issue, curtail the behaviour or block future bookings. What was apparent is that they knowingly enable the rogue operators in this space. An absolute disgrace that meant montrhs more misery for the neighbourhood, huge court costs for our client and hours and hours of work trying to address the issue.
    Absolutely shameful that a company of this size and revenue is able to skirt around regulation and their attitude speaks volumes. There are hundreds of stories just like ours up and down the country.

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    Thats' typical of American companies who ride roughshod over British Law. Unfotunately their are lots of rogue tenants out there, who do exactly this with the private rented sector.


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