The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) is supporting the Government's plans to relax the rules on short-term rents in London, while also urging it to ensure customers are protected on health and safety issues.
James Foice, managing director of ASAP, has written to peers ahead of the controversial Clause 34 (the so-called 90-day rule) of the Government's Deregulation Bill which goes before a House of Lords committee tomorrow (21 October).
Clause 34 of the bill seeks to amend Section 25 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Acts 1973 and 1983 which requires London residential property owners/tenants to seek planning approval prior to repurposing residential property to sell accommodation on a night-by-night basis.
"We are telling peers that ASAP supports Government plans to relax the 90-day rule, which has been in place without change for over 30 years, because it is out-of-date, and the short-term rental sector in London has changed beyond recognition," said Foice.
According to Foice, seismic changes in the accommodation industry - in particular the rise of sharing economy companies such as AirBnB - are driven by changing customer demand and the growth of digital technology.
"We cannot resist these changes and go back to the past, but instead embrace them and offer visitors to London the widest possible range of accommodation choices."
Foice beliees that serviced apartments are one of the fastest growing sectors within the hospitality industry, not just among corporates, but increasingly among families and tourists looking for alternatives to hotels.
"Our sector is worth £500m of annual revenue, the same size as the entire sharing economy in the UK, and we are expecting serviced apartment stock in London to reach 14,000 units by this time next year.
"We strongly welcome Government plans to reform the rules, but politicians need to carefully think through the consequences, and make sure customers get the protection they need."