Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Monday, May 9, 2016

New London Mayor urged to take action against online home rental companies




New London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been urged to clamp down on London landlords letting out their properties to holidaymakers via website like Airbnb.

The British Hospitality Association CEO Ufi Ibrahim said she wanted the 'urgent attention' of Khan, who was only sworn into office on Saturday, to deal with a number of 'outstanding issues'.

In particular, she said she wanted Khan to enforce fire and safety regulations for online home rental companies, which the BHA claims are used by professional landlords to advertise short lets.

Giving evidence to the government's Business Innovation and Skills Committee in January, Ibrahim said that 40% of all listings on home-exchange websites in the UK were professional landlords running unregulated 'pseudo hotels', and half of all listings are entire properties rather than rooms in host's own homes.

She claimed the top 100 home-exchange hosts net £150 million of accommodation revenue a year, much of it from London, the city with the highest number of landlords, she said.

The BHA claims that 40% of all listings in London were from multiple property owners renting accommodation on a short-term basis year-round.

Ibrahim told the Committee that sites such as Airbnb allowed hosts 'to circumvent planning regulations, break short lettings regulations and avoid tax, food, health and fire safety regulations'.

In calling on the new Mayor to take action, Ibrahim said: "London is the world's most-visited capital city, generating over £36 billion in tourism revenue and £14 billion gross added value by the hospitality industry.

"Our businesses employ one in 10 Londoners. However, international rivalry is intense and we cannot take our competitiveness for granted.

"It's not just our pubs, restaurants, hotels, serviced apartments, events, food service, clubs and attractions who have high expectations of the new~Mayor.

"It's also the retailers, services, manufacturers, transport and construction industries whose success is interlinked with ours. The hospitality industry's success is integral to that of London.~

"We want the Mayor to champion our ongoing industry/GLA programmes on food, jobs, apprenticeships and skills.

"We also want the Mayor's urgent attention on a number of outstanding decisions including - protecting visitors and Londoners by ensuring the enforcement of fire~and safety regulations for online home rental companies."

 

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