More overseas action against Airbnb and short-lets: is UK next?

The international backlash against Airbnb and similar short-let online platforms continues.

Earlier this week a video being shown on cable TV in the New York area suggested such short-let platforms could host terrorists. Now Spain’s Balearic Islands are taking more tangible measures to clamp down on short lets.

Reports from Mallorca and Ibiza suggest both islands are struggling to cope with increased tourist numbers this summer as holiday and owner occupied homes are increasingly let out for a few days at a time.

Now those who let out properties are being warned that they will be fined 40,000 Euros – around £36,150 – if they do not have an appropriate local licence.

In addition, Mallorca and Ibiza are set to limit the number of ‘tourist beds’ at 623,624 across the two locations – meaning some new landlords, seeking to take advantage of letting through Airbnb and other platforms, may not be able to get a licence at all.

On mainland Spain, Barcelona’s council has already clamped down on Airbnb ‘hosts’ and other authorities have gone further: in the US, short lets are banned completely in the tourist haven French Quarter district of New Orleans, for example.

Airbnb has presented the UK lettings industry with something of a quandary.

Some letting agents, particularly those operating in parts of central London, suggest that short lets have damaged the prestige and lifestyles of some apartment blocks and threaten to reduce property quality because of the nature of the short-let tenant.

Other letting agencies, including many outside of London in traditional tourist locations such as the Scottish Highlands and south west England, have set up Airbnb management services as options for people who want to let their properties for a few weeks but do not want the hassle of managing tenants, key handovers, cleaning and linen change.

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