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  • Short Term Rentals

    Mayor of London seeks enforcement of 90 days



    The Mayor of London has released the following communication today:

    Mayor calls for registration system to enforce short-term letting law

    • Since 2015 the law has capped short-term lets in London at a total of 90 nights per year, which helps protect long-term rented housing
    • However the law is near-impossible for councils to enforce, and only Airbnb has implemented a voluntary cap following City Hall’s call
    • Sadiq believes time has come for a light-touch registration system so the 90-day rule can be enforced and long-term rented housing protected

    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is calling on Government to introduce a new registration system for anyone wishing to rent out a property for less than 90 days in a calendar year in London to help protect the capital’s housing for long-term residents.

    In a letter to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire, co-signed by Airbnb and Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Westminster, and Kensington & Chelsea councils, the Mayor outlined his support for short-term lets, which offer additional accommodation for visitors to the capital and enable Londoners to meet new people and earn some extra money. 

    However, the letter, also signed by London Councils – the local government association for the capital - makes clear the Mayor believes these benefits must be balanced with the need to protect long-term rented housing, and to ensure that neighbours of Londoners renting their properties short-term are not negatively affected by a high turnover of visitors. 

    London is one of the UK’s top destinations for guests travelling with Airbnb. Over the past year* approximately 2,200,000 guests have stayed at 75,700 listings in the capital, generating £1.3 billion from guests and hosts, and encouraging visitors to different corners of the city as well as the classic tourist areas.

    However, there are many accommodation platforms in the capital and concerns have been raised by Londoners that neighbours’ homes are being let out beyond the legal 90 night limit, with some areas in central London experiencing a particularly high turnover of guests.

    After being elected, the Mayor called on the industry to self-regulate, including by voluntarily capping the number of nights per year a host can let out their home in line with the current law. Despite continued discussions between City Hall and the industry, however, Airbnb is currently the only platform to have voluntarily implemented the cap limit on its platform, including a zero tolerance approach to those that try to get around it.

    Homeaway and TripAdvisor have today committed to introducing a cap in the future. With a lack of available data on short-term lettings in London, councils have found it difficult to enforce the current legislation. 

    The Mayor believes that a simple, mandatory registration system for anyone wishing to rent out a property for short term let is now necessary in London, to provide local authorities with the data they need to enforce the 90-day rule effectively.

    Alongside Airbnb and the council co-signatories, he is urging ministers to meet with them and develop detailed plans about how this approach could work. Signatories to the letter believe the system must be simple to use, low or no cost to the host, and function as one single database that is accessible online and hosted by one organisation.

    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Short-term lets are a benefit to visitors to London, and to Londoners themselves who want to earn a little extra money. But these benefits must be balanced with the need to protect long-term rented housing, and to make sure neighbours aren’t impacted by a high turnover of visitors. It is now time for the Government to work with us to develop a registration system of short-term lets, so local councils can make sure we get this balance right.”

    The Mayor’s call comes as his Deputy Mayor for Housing & Residential Development, James Murray, today addresses the inaugural AGM of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Short-Lets Sector set up by Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, to offer a forum to discuss these issues. Karen is also already working with James to develop proposals for rent control powers that would help make private sector rents genuinely affordable to more Londoners.

    Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, said; “I strongly welcome the Mayor’s initiative, coming on the day I am setting up an All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Short Let sector, to look at how we balance the competing interests involved. The accommodation ‘sharing economy’ brings many benefits but the law is open to abuse, leaving councils unable to enforce effectively and struggling to manage the impact of short lets on residential communities. Knowing who is actually letting out their properties helps get the balance right.”

    Hadi Moussa, Airbnb Country Manager UK and Northern Europe, said: "Airbnb is built on the principle of making communities stronger and we are proud to lead our industry on working with policymakers to secure smart rules that work for everyone. A clear and simple registration system that applies to hosts on all platforms is good news for hosts and will help authorities get the information they need to regulate our industry effectively. We want to continue working together with leaders in the UK and across the world to ensure that the sustainable growth of home sharing is good news for everyone."

    Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said: “A registration system is an essential tool for strengthening boroughs’ regulatory powers over the short-term lets market. Robust data is crucial for providing boroughs with accurate information on how short-term lets are being used. Compulsory registration will help us to support local communities, protect housing stock, and take swift action against anti-social behaviour occurring in short-term lets.”

    SEE ALSO  -         90 days rule for short term lets

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    It worries me that I'm in agreement with a Labour mayor, but this actually sounds quite sensible.

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    I'm not London based, but looking at this from a lodger landlord's perspective it does cause some significant restrictions.

    I have taken lodgers on a Mon-Fri basis (employment reasons) and I have taken lodgers on a short term basis of less than 90 days for various reasons (relocation, relationship breakdown, eviction). Reading through the Deregulation Act 2015, it appears that this type of letting is also limited in London by the act, although it does not involve Airbnb or the hospitality industry.

    Whether or not it would be possible to detect this type of letting, let alone enforce the act, I wouldn't like to guess, but it does create a restriction for those looking to rent short term for reasons other than recreation.

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    No point in having a law unless it's effectively enforced.

    "Signatories to the letter believe the system must be simple to use, low or no cost to the host, and function as one single database that is accessible online and hosted by one organisation."

    Can we have that for landlords too INSTEAD of selective licencing ?....

    (I wonder if the same councils that have put their name to this letter are the same ones that have lots of selective licencing in their patches.... 'interesting' difference enforcement approach if that is the case....)

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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.

    Short-Term Accommodation Association (STAA) is open to exploratory discussion on short-term letting registration in the capital

    As the trade body for the short-term letting sector, the Short-Term Accommodation Association (STAA) is open to constructive engagement on registration and will participate in any government initiatives to develop a registration system that the industry could support.

    As a demonstration of their commitment to help enforce the 90-day rule in London, STAA member HomeAway and non-member TripAdvisor, have joined Airbnb and taken the step as accommodation platforms to introduce a voluntary 90-day cap. The STAA is supportive of this move and believes this will help as an interim measure until a longer-term solution is in place.

    In response to the Mayor of London’s announcement, STAA Chair & UnderTheDoormat CEO Merilee Karr said “We will support and contribute to any discussions around registration, as well as other solutions to get the balance right between London being an open city and ensuring homes for Londoners. STAA is already rolling out a growing number of voluntary initiatives including our members’ Code of Conduct, our Buildings Best Practice Policy and our independently assessed Safe, Clean and Legal™ Accreditation scheme, which all together are focused on creating and supporting an environment for the responsible growth of short-term letting in the UK.”

    STAA Vice Chair and HomeAway VP Government & Corporate Affairs Jean-Philippe Monod responded: “At HomeAway, we understand that cities are reviewing different options to get the balance right with short-term lets. We will continue our efforts to work collaboratively with governments to achieve a longer-term solution .In the interim we feel that implementing a voluntary measure to cap at 90-days per calendar year to help London is the right thing to do as a company and we will engage in further discussion on registration as part of the STAA.” 

    TripAdvisor Public Policy Director Véronique Corduant added “We are working closely with local government and the STAA to find a sustainable solution for the short-term rental sector in London. We understand the need to have a national regulatory framework, that takes into account the regional differences across the UK and we look forward to being part of the discussions to find a solution.”

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