Airbnb Short Term Lets Cannot Be Controlled

Airbnb Short Term Lets

Those nice people at Airbnb have kindly introduced a ban on “hosts” in London from renting out their entire home for more than 90 days a year without consent from the local council.

How very kind of them to deign to comply with the law. We ordinary folk who routinely obey laws, must be eternally grateful I suppose. (Please doff your cap on the way out!).

Could this be the start of something with the internet multinationals? Maybe they may now even pay some UK tax soon instead of shifting profits around the world and declaring all the cash to be made in the British Virgin Islands and their ilk.

Nah, woah Neddy, steady on! Don’t get ahead of yourself.

The move, which comes into effect from Spring 2017, followed concerns that homes that could be rented out long term, were being withdrawn from the market and treated like hotel rooms.

Tom Copley, a Labour housing spokesman in the capital, helped campaign for the change. He had rightly pointed out that the town halls did not have the resources to enforce the law which said that property owners in London could not let out their homes on short-term hotel style lets without planning permission, if the total let period was over 90 days.

And I see that Mayor of Lewisham, Steve Bullock, (the man who has turned the once proud and glorious south east London borough into a really bad and nightmarish version of Croydon), was pleased with the move too.

But will this make any difference?

Sorry, but we think not.

After all, Airbnb is just one of many providers. If all the other Airbnb copyists do the same, all a host has to do is switch from one company to another or split allocations so that they don’t use any one platform for over 90 days. Doh!

Sure the fines are big, but as one consultant has said that as it costs a council £27,000 to prosecute each case, they still will not have the resources and the chances of being caught and taken to court will be low.

Airbnb Hassle

Personally, I cannot stand Airbnb – and I would never do it. It just seems too much hassle – and I don’t need that at this time of my life, what with my asthma and insomnia!

Sure, all the workload can be  out-sourced to professional companies, but that still leaves you with the fact that one is doing one’s bit to unnecessarily upset neighbours by doing it – and bringing down the quality of the area at the same time.

We have Czech friends who tried to let their flat in Prague on Airbnb. They found the rates were very low and it was just not worth the aggro that came with it.

(I don’t know anyone who does it in London, but perhaps I’m not in the right circles).

But the kind co-operation of Airbnb, (‘cor blimey ‘fank you guvner), will not change the volumes of these sorts of lets one iota. All that will happen is that rivals like holidaylettings.co.uk and other service providers will happily take up some of Airbnb’s market share. And in a fast growing largely unregulated market, (far less regulated than long lets, of course), this won’t bother Airbnb one bit.

Only proper enforcement from councils of the law can put a stop to this. But just like enforcement of the myriad rules on private rented housing, (which ranges from patchy to non-existent), that ain’t gonna happen any time soon. There ain’t any money for enforcement! (See previous point re payment of tax!).

So the rogues in Airbnb land and the rogue landlords elsewhere continue to flourish, much to the annoyance of the good landlords.

But if some of the lads who make policy at the “Mayor’s Big B*****k” down by Tower Bridge think it is “job done”, then I guess someone, at least, will be happy.

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