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Short Term Lets

The likes of Airbnb are putting a strain on the capital's housing stock

Short Term Letting is a contentious issue for those involved in the London rental market. Is the explosive growth of Airbnb a good thing for Londoners, allowing those with a spare room to make a bit of extra income? Or is it being used to illegally sub-let properties all year round, depriving the market of long-term rentals and pushing rental prices for those who live permanently in London higher?

Airbnb is one of the wild successes of the new ‘sharing’ economy in London, which puts consumers instantly in touch with the services they require. In Airbnb’s case, it allows people to rent out a room or whole property to anyone in the world without the need of a middleman or detailed contract.

Housing is in short supply in London and taking properties off the market to let to tourists rather than residents exacerbates the problem. This is why councils limit the number of holiday lets available.

The 90-day short-letting rule has been in place for a number of years but it’s unclear how many of London’s Airbnb hosts are aware of the regulation to get a change in planning permission – and potentially in line for a hefty fine of up to £20,000.

Our concern with the rise of Airbnb is not the people who might rent a room out now and again. It’s with the companies and individuals who are profiting from a legally grey area where no-one is properly protected from so called ‘holiday rentals’.

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