House of Lords hears of concern over spread of Airbnb short lets

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Members of the House of Lords have heard about the concerns of a Baroness over landlords who choose not to let their properties to long-term tenants but instead prefer the more profitable and less controlled short-term lets via Airbnb.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes – herself a long-time landlord who has let properties in London for several decades – raised the issue during the committee stage of the Renters’ Rights Bill, which is currently going through the Lords.

That measure concerns traditional lets of six months or longer but Baroness Gardner warned that the Bill’s desire to exercise greater control and costs on landlords and letting agents may drive more into the Airbnb short lets sector.

“People are overlooking the situation where, particularly in London, landlords are giving up ordinary residential lettings. There is quite a desperate shortage of lettings for ordinary people wishing to rent, because landlords can make so much more money out of Airbnb, which is totally uncontrolled. I opposed the practice when it came up last year during passage of the Deregulation Act, but no one else did” Baroness Gardner told peers.

“Now, sure enough, Berlin is bringing in controls. New York, Vancouver—all these places—are finding themselves in the same position. The Mayor of London has acknowledged the problem. It is only capital cities that have ever had that limitation on short lets. Whether it is in the tenancy agreement or not, people are totally ignoring that and simply letting them, because they can earn as much in four months as an ordinary landlord would in the whole year” she continued.

There has been widespread concern over the abuse of Airbnb and similar platforms, not just to let owner-occupied rooms for short periods but used instead to let property that used to be long-term rental accommodation.

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