The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is looking on the Authorities to assist shield London’s housing provide from being decimated by short-term lets.
The speedy development in short-term allows London lately, fuelled by on-line platforms comparable to Airbnb, is one component fuelling London’s housing disaster. In July 2023, there have been 81,792 listings in London on AirBnB alone1. Of those, 50,401 are for complete properties, which means at the very least one in each seventy-four properties within the capital is out there for short-term let.
London is without doubt one of the tourism capitals of the world and short-term lets are a key a part of the customer ecosystem. However because of a scarcity of enough regulation or sources for boroughs to observe the scenario, it’s unclear what number of could also be being let towards the principles for greater than 90 days a 12 months.
Due to this fact, the Mayor is looking on the Authorities to work with him and boroughs to implement a licensing system for short-term lets. This could permit native authorities to restrict the numbers of licenses issued of their space and keep away from complete streets or blocks being turned over completely to short- time period lets. For instance, earlier this 12 months it was reported that one residential block in Westminster had greater than 90 per cent of its 118 models accessible on short-term letting platforms6.
Owners are entitled to lease out their properties for as much as 90 days a 12 months, however it’s attainable that many property homeowners in London are breaching this restriction while boroughs shouldn’t have the sources to observe compliance. Charging for licences and imposing enterprise charges for properties let for greater than 90 days a 12 months would additionally generate a monetary reward for councils who’ve seen their budgets repeatedly minimize lately, permitting them to run more practical enforcement exercise towards unregistered landlords.
There may be additionally a scarcity of transparency within the sector, so the Mayor is asking Ministers to again his name for brand spanking new laws to require short-term lets platforms to share knowledge with native and nationwide authorities, permitting choice makers to raised perceive how the sector is impacting the housing provide and native residents.
The Mayor’s name to motion comes as a part of his response to 2 Authorities consultations on the way forward for short-term lets. Proposals from Ministers to regulate the sector utilizing planning powers or a voluntary register have each been criticised by the Mayor and boroughs for not going far sufficient to deal with the issue.
The difficulty of short-term lets lowering cities’ housing provide isn’t distinctive to London and the Mayor has appeared to the instance of different world cities for inspiration. Barcelona, Amsterdam and Paris all have types of licencing scheme in place, with the French authorities going additional to push brief time period lets platforms comparable to Air BnB to publicly share knowledge about listings.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan mentioned: “I’m doing all I can to deal with the housing disaster in London, constructing a file variety of the genuinely reasonably priced, high-quality properties that Londoners deserve.
“However these efforts will proceed to be hampered by the shortage of regulation within the short-term letting market. Brief-term lets play an essential position in London’s tourism business, however that mustn’t come on the expense of Londoners who want a spot to reside. We want transparency about what number of properties are being rented out for longer than the principles allow, and accountability to native authorities and residents.
“Because of this I’m calling on the Authorities to work with me and borough councils to design a licencing system to deliver some order to this quickly rising sector and stop us shedding but extra properties for Londoners to the short-term let sector.”
Prof. Claire Colomb, Professor of City Research and Planning at College Faculty London (UCL) mentioned: “Our comparative analysis exhibits how European metropolis governments have tried to manage Brief-Time period Lets to strike a stability between their cities’ openness to guests and the safety of the housing inventory for long-term residents who’re confronted with an acute housing disaster.
“At current, London is without doubt one of the least regulated European cities relating to STLs. The simplest option to management STLs is to provide native authorities the ability to establish and management the usage of a property as STL, which will be performed in numerous methods. In London, this is able to be greatest achieved with a licensing scheme. A planning authorisation scheme may work if planning departments had sufficient useful resource, however we all know that they’re chronically understaffed and already battle to satisfy their statutory duties.
“In any case, digital platforms have to be required by regulation to show the license or authorisation quantity on every itemizing, and to share individualised knowledge listings with public authorities at common intervals in order that compliance will be monitored.”