UKHospitality has said it is "delighted" about the launch of a government consultation into introducing a mandatory registration scheme for short-term holiday lets in England.
It follows concerns that a rising number of Airbnb-style properties across coastal towns, national parks and certain cities do not have to apply for planning permission or pay business rates under current rules, giving them an advantage over traditional hotels and B&B's.
Evidence from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport revealed that 62% of the 257,000 short-term and holiday lettings listed in England in 2022 were clustered in the south-west, London and the south-east, which has impacted local communities and the wider housing market.
The open consultation, which launched on 12 April, is seeking views on the introduction of an opt-in registration scheme for local authorities or a mandatory national scheme, and to decide which types of properties should receive an exemption.
Should the mandatory scheme go ahead, short-term let operators may have to adhere to additional regulations around gas, boiler and food safety and apply for planning permission to operate.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "Many businesses across the short-term letting market are not operating to the same legal standards as hotels, and a mandatory scheme is desperately needed to bring them up to scratch.
"UKHospitality has long been arguing that a registration scheme for short-term lets is essential to ensure parity across accommodation in the UK and I'm delighted that Government is taking action in England."
She warned an opt-in scheme would only "provide a loophole that will allow short-term lets to continue to fall well below the high standards that have been set by hotels for decades."
The consultation will run for eight weeks before closing at 11.45pm on 7 June.
Responses to the consultation can be submitted here.
The Scottish government passed separate legislation for a mandatory licensing scheme that will require all short-term lets to be licensed by July 2024 last year.