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Five reasons why Airbnb and short lets should be regulated - MPs told

MPs and the wider public have been presented with a lengthy report on the growth of Airbnb and similar platforms across the UK - and with it, they have been told of five key areas where there is growing concern over the short lets sector. 

The House off Commons Library - which operates independently of political parties and the government - has produced a 57 page report explaining how short lets have boomed in recent years. 

Within it, the library outlines to MPs and other readers of the report, five main areas of concern following the growth of Airbnb and its rival platforms. These are:


- commercial operators using residential properties as letting businesses in breach of planning rules;

- the challenges local authorities face in taking planning enforcement action and the effect on local housing markets;

- negative effects on neighbours and local communities, for example from noise disturbance and anti-social behaviour;

- taxation compliance and compliance with health and safety regulations;

- the implications for traditional short-term accommodation businesses such as hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation.

Because of difficulties gathering authoritative data on short lets, some figures contained in the report appear dated but Airbnb data, from 2017-2018, suggests that even at that time there were 75,000 active Airbnb listings in London, 31,000 in Scotland and an almost identical number in South West England.

More recent figures in the report includes this reference: “According to Inside Airbnb’s data, there were 67,903 listings in London on 10 October 2021, of which 37,947 (56%) were for entire homes rather than rooms within a home. This was a decline of 20,226 listings (or a 23% decline) compared to 15 March 2020 (shortly before the first national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”


Outside of the capital, there is also limited new data: "Inside Airbnb has made available data for Bristol, Edinburgh, and Greater Manchester: 

“- As of 15 October 2021, Inside Airbnb recorded 6,146 listings in Edinburgh, of which 67 per cent were for entire homes;

“- There were 3,289 listings in Greater Manchester as of 24 October 2021, of which 59 per cent were entire homes;

“- 1,562 listings were recorded in Bristol as of 25 October 2021, of which 60 per cent were entire homes.”

The House of Commons Library report also looks at a range of proposals for different forms of regulation, and gives examples of how the different UK national regions tackle the problems associated with short lets.

You can see the full report here.

  • Roger  Mellie

    I smell another revenue generating licensing scheme on the horizon

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    What has it got to do with the House of Commons library ? Funny isnt it that Properties in tourist hot spots have B&Bs'

  • icon

    Something else for the state to ruin.


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