Airbnb has called for an end to Section 21 evictions to stop landlords forcing tenants out of properties and then turning them into short-term holiday lets.
The platform says it backs moves to strengthen protection for renters and is committed to investigating cases where a tenant has been unfairly evicted from their property which is subsequently listed on Airbnb.
Amanda Cupples, Airbnb’s general manager for Northern Europe, says ending ‘no fault’ evictions would ensure long-term housing is protected for communities and help the website better police the sector. It already removes landlords from its platform if tenants have been unlawfully evicted.
Cupples says the firm was also ready to administer tourist taxes as a way to help local residents better benefit from living in a tourism hotspot and had already collected £3 billion in ‘tourism taxes’ around the world. “Where there is clear support for such a measure to be introduced in the community, Airbnb can share its experience in working with authorities to streamline the process here in the UK too.”
The short-term lettings sector has been criticised for contributing to a sharp drop in the number of rental properties available for local people as landlords switch from longer tenancies; Devon has seen a staggering 70% drop in private rented properties over the last two years. Earlier this year, the government announced that from April 2023, second homeowners would have to pay council tax and stop accessing small business rates relief if they can’t prove that their properties are genuine holiday lets.
Airbnb has also called for the government to speed up its timetable for delivering on its commitment to consult on a national register for the sector. She adds: “Since last year, we have led calls on short-term lets rules being introduced and now, alongside communities in some parts of the UK, we are keen to see the government turn talk into action.”