Airbnb to impose 90-day limit on London landlords

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Airbnb is to enforce a 90-day limit on London hosts following concerns it is exacerbating the housing crisis by reducing the stock of long-term rentals.

The online lettings company said the change would remove unwelcome commercial operators and "help build a better London for everyone" after a six-month project that looked into the impact of home-sharing on the capital's housing market.

Homeowners in the capital must already apply for planning permission if their property is used for short-term lets of more than 90 days a year, but critics have accused Airbnb of not doing enough to enforce these rules.

Airbnb said: "We know the vast majority of Airbnb hosts in London are regular people who share their homes to help them afford one of the most expensive cities in the world.

"The typical Airbnb host in London earns £3,500 by sharing their space for 50 nights a year and the Airbnb community generated an economic impact of more than £1.3 billion in London last year.

"We firmly believe this step will help build a better London for everyone and work is already under way to implement these measures, which will be in place by spring 2017.

"We want to be good partners to London and continue to lead our industry on this matter, and ensure home-sharing grows responsibly and sustainably."

The company was last month invited to a meeting with a representative from City Hall and boroughs, organised by London Assembly member Tom Copley to discuss issues raised by short-term lettings legislation.

Responding to the announcement, Mr Copley said: "We knew that short-term lettings sites had been abused by professional landlords. We talked to Airbnb and they've listened.

"Flawed legislation from the previous government has seen some landlords effectively turning their properties into hotels without planning permission. With local authorities lacking the necessary resources to enforce the 90-day limit on short -term lettings, we needed Airbnb and other operators to step in and help.

"It's fantastic that Airbnb has responded to those concerns. This action should help ensure London gains the economic benefits of tourism that Airbnb creates without putting pressure on our housing supply.

"Airbnb is no longer the only short-term lettings service operating in London. We now need to see other services follow their example and ensure their hosts cannot break the law by letting out properties short-term for more than 90 days per year."

Airbnb reported an 85% jump to 1.6 million guest arrivals in the UK from June to August, compared with 860,000 over the same period last year.