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[Credit: Eilis Garvey on Unsplash]

APPG calls for “national and mandatory” registration scheme

UK: A new report into short-term lets and the visitor economy by the All-Party Parliamentary Group [APPG] for Hospitality and Tourism has called for a “national and mandatory” registration scheme that would “ensure a level playing field for accommodation operators”.

The APPG report concluded that the registration scheme would solve numerous existing issues, including the lack of data on short-term lets and “insufficient transparency” as to the location and function of short-term lets.

The report follows an evidence session on the issue and concludes that it is “essential” that each short-term let is regulated to the same standard as the wider accommodation sector.

The APPG has made the following three recommendations to the UK Government:

  • Establish a national set of aggregated data on short-term lets in England.
  • Allow local authorities to enforce compliance of registered short-term let properties against health, safety and other relevant legislation.
  • The scheme should collect comprehensive data, including key property information, which can be used to enforce clear and proportionate penalties.

 

Simon Jupp MP [East Devon], chair of the Hospitality and Tourism APPG, said: “The accommodation sector has seen such rapid change over the past 15 years, with digital platforms leading to a boom in the number of short-term lets operating. The Hospitality and Tourism APPG fully supports the government’s decision to introduce a registration scheme and we are recommending in this report that it is implemented nationally and made mandatory for all letting businesses.

“Such a move would solve several immediate issues. Most notably, it would bring short-term lets up to the legal standard required of other accommodation providers, particularly for health and safety. Ensuring these properties are safe for paying guests is the bare minimum this scheme should be delivering.

“Requirements to be registered before being allowed to feature on digital platforms would provide vital protections for consumers and build greater confidence into the accommodation market,” he added.

The APPG consulted with relevant stakeholders including Airbnb, The Professional Association of Self-Caterers UK, Tourism Alliance, UKHospitality and the UK Short-Term Accommodation Association [STAA] for its report.

An oral evidence session took place in October and heard from: Kate Nicholls OBE, UKHospitality; Alistair Handyside MBE, The Professional Association of Self-Caterers UK, with Matthew Bell, joint head of public policy, Frontier Economics; and Andy Fenner, UK Short-Term Accommodation Association [STAA], with Fiona MacConnacher, public affairs manager UK & Ireland, Booking.com.

The report can be downloaded at this link.

Last month, a research piece conducted that councils had identified almost two million unbuilt homes that are ‘deliverable’ in England, suggesting that the government has missed an ongoing opportunity to solve the UK housing crisis.

This year, the government conducted a consultation on a registration scheme and new planning requirements for short-term lets in England. The STAA is calling for a registration scheme for all hotel and lodging operators, which would provide the basis for any future hospitality tourism tax.

According to Oxford Economics, the short-term rental sector contributed £27.7 billion to the UK economy in 2021, directly supporting 94,000 jobs.

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