GLA Conservatives estimates £576m per year tied up in spare London rooms and encourages Londoners to try out AirBnB

Hayley Kirton
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A law change in May this year means capital dwellers are legally able to offer their spare rooms out for short-term lets (Source: Getty)

London’s spare rooms could be worth £576m a year, according to Greater London Authority (GLA) Conservatives.

Tony Arbour, GLA Conservatives Assembly tourism spokesman, has argued that half a million people in the capital could rent out a spare room to help pay their bills, which would also bolster London’s tourism industry.

According to the GLA Conservatives’ figures, £436m of the £576m generated per year would go to homeowners while £140m would go towards boosting the economy through extra spending by tourists.

Arbour said: “London is really lagging behind other cities when it comes to making money off our spare rooms. For perspective, Paris has 40 per cent more AirBnB properties than London. This is partly because legislation was late to allow this, but also because people don’t know how easy it is to do. With new technology letting out your spare room as a bed and breakfast is only an app away. London needs to get the word out that you can pay your bills with your spare room.”

Arbour plans to urge the Mayor of London to promote the use of technology to simplify the process of letting out spare rooms as bed and breakfast style accommodation.

AirBnB’s website lists 35,428 holiday rentals for the French capital, compared to 25,361 for London.

Thanks to a law change, London residents have been able to legally offer their spare rooms as short-term lets since 26 May this year.

Before that, capital dwellers who rented out a room for fewer than 90 nights would have had to apply for planning permission, or risk a fine of up to £20,000.

At the time of the rule change, housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis said: “These outdated and needless rules that restricted London homeowners in what they could do with their home have now been swept away.”

However, not everywhere is as welcoming to AirBnB. The holiday listings website’s own hometown of San Francisco voted yesterday on whether to limit short-term lets in the city.

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