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Short-let registration called for in London

Words: Laura Edgar
AirBnb / Shutterstock_474258127

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on the government to introduce a registration system for those who want to rent out a property for less than 90 days in a calendar year in order to protect housing for long-term residents.

Writing to housing secretary James Brokenshire, Khan outlined his support for short-term lets but made it clear than the benefits of this should be balanced with the need to protect long-term rented housing.

It should ensure that the neighbours of short-term lets would not be negatively affected by the turnover of visitors.

Other signatories to the letter were Airbnb, London Councils, and Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Westminster, and Kensington & Chelsea councils.

London is one of the UK’s top destinations for guests travelling with Airbnb, said Khan, highlighting that between July 2017 and July 2018, about 2,200,000 guests stayed at 75,700 listings in London. This, he continued, generated £1.3 billion from guests and hosts, with visitors exploring different areas of the city as well as the classic tourist areas. But 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.

Khan thinks a mandatory registration system for anyone wishing to rent out a property for short-term let is now necessary in London. Local authorities would then have the data needed to enforce the 90-day rule effectively. The letter urges ministers to meet with Airbnb and the councils to develop detailed plans about how this approach could work.

The system should be simple to use, the group explained, and be of low or no cost to the host, and must function as one single database that is accessible online and hosted by one organisation.

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.”

Image credit | Shutterstock