Sadiq Khan calls for crackdown on Airbnb in London

20 July 2023 by
Sadiq Khan calls for crackdown on Airbnb in London

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for greater regulation of Airbnb-style holiday lets to help the capital's housing crisis.

In July 2023, there were 81,792 Airbnb listings in London, more than 50,000 of which were for entire homes.

Khan said the growth in short-term lets was helping to fuel London's housing crisis and has called on the government to help introduce a licensing scheme around their use.

This could give local authorities the power to limit the number of Airbnb properties in their area.

The move has been welcomed by UKHospitality, which has long called for short-terms lets to be held to the same safety standards as hotels.

City Hall said a lack of regulation meant it was unclear how many Airbnb-style properties were being let against the rules for more than 90 days a year.

In April, the Times reported that more than 90% of the 118 homes in one residential block in Westminster were listed on short-term letting platforms.

Khan said: "Short-term lets play an important role in London's tourism industry, but that mustn't come at the expense of Londoners, who need a place to live.

"We need transparency about how many properties are being rented out for longer than the rules permit, and accountability to local authorities and residents."

Action across the UK

Calls for a crackdown on Airbnb-style properties have been building across the UK.

Last September, it became necessary to obtain planning permission to offer a home as a short-term holiday let in Edinburgh.

The Scottish government is also set to introduce a mandatory scheme that will require all short-term lets to be licensed by July 2024. A consultation on introducing a similar registration scheme in England closed for submissions in June.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "The mayor is absolutely right to raise the issue of short-term lets in the capital.

"Whether it's a lack of visibility preventing checks of basic standards of safety and accessibility or the impact it has on housing stocks, it's clear that action is needed.

"We've backed the government's proposals for a registration scheme to tackle the issue in England and we agree with the mayor that the data captured needs to be shared between both national and local authorities to drive good decision-making.

"A well-functioning scheme to bring short-term lets up to standard would be hugely significant and I hope that the government can work with mayors and local authorities across the country to make it a success."

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