The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is calling on the government to introduce a new registration system for those renting out a property for less than 90 days a year in London.
In 2015 short term lets in London were capped to a total of 90 days a year. However, enforcing this cap has proven to be quite difficult hence the call for a registration system. In a letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, co-signed by Airbnb and numerous London councils, Sadiq Khan outlined his support for the short-term lets market.
However, the letter also outlines that the benefits of short-term lets must be balanced with the need to protect long-term rented housing, and to ensure that neighbours of short-term let properties are not negatively affected by the large turnover of visitors.
Short-term lets have generated billions for the capital however with so many accommodation platforms in the market, concerns have been raised by Londoners that properties are being let out beyond the 90 day limit. Currently only Airbnb have voluntarily implemented the 90 day limit on its platform which means there is a large number of platforms that have not despite pressure from City Hall.
The lack of data on short-term lets has therefore meant that London councils have found it difficult to enforce the current 90 day cap. Consequently, Sadiq Khan believes that a simple, mandatory registration system for those letting out their properties on short term lets is now necessary in order to see councils enforce the 90 day cap effectively.
Sadiq Khan is reported to have said:
“Short-term lets are a benefit to visitors to London, and to Londoners themselves who want to earn a little extra money. But these benefits must be balanced with the need to protect long-term rented housing, and to make sure neighbours aren’t impacted by a high turnover of visitors. It is now time for the Government to work with us to develop a registration system of short-term lets, so local councils can make sure we get this balance right.”
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning has said:
“A registration system is an essential tool for strengthening boroughs’ regulatory powers over the short-term lets market. Robust data is crucial for providing boroughs with accurate information on how short-term lets are being used. Compulsory registration will help us to support local communities, protect housing stock, and take swift action against anti-social behaviour occurring in short-term lets.”
Any mandatory registration scheme will take some time to implement especially given the government’s current priorities. However, should it be implemented those renting out properties on short term lets may be required to pay fees for any such mandatory registration scheme.