Short-term lets industry dismisses concerns sector ‘out of control’

January 27, 2020
Man pulling suitcase and entering room

Short-term lets do not impact negatively on the traditional lettings market, according to the short-term lets industry, despite warnings the market was “out of control.”

 

The comments from Merilee Karr, the chair of UK Short Term Accommodation Association, came after recent research found nearly 75,000 – one in 50 – properties in London were available as short lets.

 

Ms Karr insisted there is “no research that demonstrates a concrete link between short-term rentals and a lack of housing supply in the UK,” as she rejected calls for greater regulation.

 

She claimed “industry measures and host education” would better address any concerns, as research by London Councils published earlier this week revealed 74,549 flats and houses are available for short-term rental in the capital.

 

This figure represents just over 2% of the city’s housing stock, although the research only included ‘whole property rentals’ rather than rooms. The analysis looked at the largest short-term rental platforms including Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, Niumba and TripAdvisor.

 

London Councils, a cross-party organisation which represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London, is calling for improved regulation of the booming short-term lets market as it warned the growth in short-term lets deprives the capital of much-needed permanent accommodation.

 

“At a time when almost one in 50 Londoners is homeless, it’s ridiculous that potentially one in 50 London homes is rented out as a short-term let,” Darren Rodwell, executive member for housing at London Councils said.

 

“Although short-term lets listed on digital platforms offer benefits to some Londoners, the market is growing out of control. Boroughs are hearing more and more complaints about short-term lets linked to antisocial behaviour and even criminality.

The priority has to be protecting Londoners’ interests. That’s why we’re calling on the government to introduce much stronger regulation of this sector. Changes to government legislation are essential for giving local authorities the powers we need to keep check on short-term lets in our communities and defend our residents.”

 

Earlier this month, local authorities in Scotland were given new powers to regulate short-term lets where they decide this is in the interests of the local community. London Councils have called for similar measures in the capital, including mandatory registration of short-term lets and stronger powers for local authorities to protect housing stock and clamp down on irresponsible property owners.

 

“The Scottish government’s recent announcement shows London risks being left behind on this issue – especially when you look at the regulatory powers and resources other cities around the world have already got. We look forward to working with ministers so we can ensure London is better placed to tackle this challenge,” Mr Rodwell said.