In the Harrowby & District Residents’ Association (HDRA) part of Marylebone, we have suffered for a long time with the problems associated with short term lettings which include, noise, nuisance, security problems and rubbish to mention a few. However, this problem is spreading throughout the rest of London, creating a shortage of available long term flat and house rentals for people wishing to live and work in London. In some capital cities such as Berlin and New York the problems have became so acute that these cities are banning short term lets. London needs to find a solution which can work for genuine short term lets and avoid the extreme commercialisation of this market.
The round table session brought together representatives from local councils, including the new Leader of Westminster City council, Nickie Aiken as well as local MP Karen Buck, AirBnB, the Mayor’s office, Covent Garden Community Association and others. Many of the speakers spoke passionately about the problems residents are experiencing. Short term rental operators were urged to self regulate and clean up their act to ensure that properties were not rented out for more than the permitted 90 days a year under current legislation. One operator, AirBnB is taking steps to do this, however, many other operators are not. The current situation is costing Westminster City Council thousands of pounds trying to enforce the regulations, money which could be much better spent on other things rather than chasing down rogue landlords. This round-table session was a welcome small step in the direction of finding a solution to this problem. Let’s hope that the momentum on bringing the problem of short term lets under control is building and it doesn’t all take too long.
Amanda Feeny, Chair of the Harrowby & District Residents’ Association and member of the Marylebone Association Committee