Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
London Mayor Sadiq Khan's call for stricter regulations on short-term rentals has elicited a quick response from Airbnb. The company has issued a statement outlining its stance on the matter.
Khan had expressed concerns about the impact of shortlets on London's housing market and suggested a licensing system to restrict the number of licenses issued.
Airbnb's Northern Europe manager, Amanda Cupples, said they take housing issues seriously. She emphasised that Airbnb had worked with the Mayor over five years ago to enforce a 90-night cap on rentals in London. She says they will support a national register for short-term rentals and data sharing with local authorities to ensure compliance with regulations.
According to Airbnb, the typical listing in London is rented for just 43 nights a year. Many hosts rely on this income to cover their living expenses. Hosting helps, them afford their homes and deal with the rising living costs.
Airbnb welcomed the Government's decision to introduce a registration scheme for these rentals in England. The company stated that it had been a supporter of progressive rules for short lets and has been advocating responsible regulation. In London specifically, Airbnb highlighted that homes cannot be rented out for more than 90 days in a single calendar year without proper planning permission. The company asserted that it has a history of supporting regulation in the UK and was the first platform to implement automated limits in 2017, which the Mayor of London applauded.
In 2021, Airbnb recommended a simple and user-friendly national registration scheme following consultations across the UK. The UK government has committed to implementing such a register, providing accurate data to local authorities about short-term rental activity and its impacts on communities.
In a related development, a planning committee meeting in Manchester took an unexpected turn as discussions about a proposal for 100 new apartments transformed into a compliant-voicing program about the proliferation of Airbnb and other short-term rentals in the city. An affected local council representative denounced short-term lets as a "scourge" and an "absolute nightmare" for the city. The councilor expressed concern over the behaviour of some Airbnb accommodation visitors, particularly during stag and hen parties. The locals had to deal with disruptive behaviour and the renters' lack of respect for the properties and the neighbourhood.
The Manchester Evening News decided to investigate the apartment complex. Residents expressed anxiety about security breaches, highlighting that visitors could clone key fobs. Incidents of missing parcels were reported. They expressed frustration that some properties were being rented out on Airbnb despite lease agreements explicitly prohibiting it. Airbnb responded by pointing out that parties are prohibited on their platform. They reported a significant decrease of 75 percent in party-related incidents in the UK since introducing the ban in 2020. The company pointed to its 24/7 hotline for neighbours to report concerns and pledged a prompt investigation.
Airbnb clarified its stance on responsible hosting by encouraging hosts to review their contracts and adhere to community rules and regulations. They said the "Airbnb" brand is often misused to report various forms of short-term letting.The debate in the planning committee meeting and subsequent investigations highlight the growing concern in Manchester regarding the impact of short-term rentals on the local community. As the city navigates these challenges, the call for a more structured approach to short-term rental regulations is gaining momentum.
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
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