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London housing crisis may be fuelled by long-term Airbnb letting, landlords body suggests

William Turvill
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The RLA found 41 per cent of Airbnb listings in London were multi-listings (Source: Getty)

London's housing shortage is being fuelled by a rise in long-term letting via sites such as Airbnb, a new report has suggested. Airbnb has hit back at the research, describing it as "misleading".

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) research in June found that 61 per cent of entire homes and apartments listed on Airbnb are available for more than 90 days a year.

The research also found that 41 per cent, or 17,593, of Airbnb listings in London were multi-listings. This was up from 38 per cent in February.

Read more: Airbnb your house: Londoners could be making a packet from idle assets

“London more than anywhere else in the country is in desperate need of more homes to rent and to buy,” said RLA policy director David Smith.

The RLA said it is concerned that some property owners may be using holiday letting sites to provide long-term accommodation without abiding by regulations covering the private renting sector.

The body noted that planning permission is required for short-term holiday lets available for more than 90 days in London.

Airbnb said in a statement:

This is misleading research that deliberately confuses availability with nights booked. The typical Airbnb host in London shares their space for 50 nights a year and hosts generated £1.3bn of economic activity in the capital last year. Rather than removing housing stock, hosting on Airbnb puts money in the pockets of regular Londoners and helps them afford living costs in one of the world's most expensive cities. The UK has introduced clear and simple home sharing rules that boost economic opportunities for Londoners and we will continue to be good partners for policymakers and work together to promote responsible home sharing.

Read more: Expensive hotels put out the flame in Britain's love affair with Airbnb

And the RLA is calling for the Mayor of London and the government to review policing of Airbnb-type models to ensure those advertising for more than 90 days are playing by the rules.

Smith added: “Given the pressures faced in the capital it is important that properties advertised as being available for more than 90 days a year are genuine holiday lets with appropriate planning permission. Otherwise, as well as taking rental stock off the market for those looking for somewhere to live, they are also putting tenants in a vulnerable position without all the protections offered by a tenancy agreement.”

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