UK: The London Councils, representatives of the city’s 32 boroughs and the City of London corporation, has made a plea for increased regulatory power after the reveal that a significant number of homes in the capital are being used as short-term lets.
The organisation has called the problem “out of control”, according to Inside Housing, and have criticised the current light touch approach advocated by the mayor and the Greater London Authority.
The Guardian reported Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham, as saying: “At a time when almost one in 50 Londoners is homeless, it’s ridiculous that potentially one in 50 London homes is rented out as a short-term let.”
Temporary homelessness in London reached 56,280 households last year, the highest number the city has seen since 2010.
The council cited specific blocks where nearly a fifth of the possible homes are used as short-term lets, party houses and other properties used for possibly illicit activities as problematic. Though the city has set a 90-night limit on short-term rental properties, the Borough of Camden has found 48-per-cent of listed properties in its limits in violation of this rule.
Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North was quoted as saying: “…Benefits fall on the owner but all the costs fall on the neighbours or the council.”
Airbnb, the industry leader in urban short-term lets, has fallen under criticism and has been subject to significant regulation due to its impact on urban and local communities. Most recently, the Scottish government announced a significant overhaul of its powers on short-term rentals, giving legislative command to local councils to curb their growth.
The platform responded to London Councils, claiming inflated data statistics and that most of its property owners were complying with city codes.
As the councils presented their findings, which included surveys of the top six platforms, they hoped for increased powers to police violations, and garner prosecutions for violators of their rules.