Airbnb is calling for a national register for the short-term lets sector following its nationwide consultation involving tourism bosses and local community leaders.

The ‘white paper’ suggests operators should have a registration number from the government or a devolved authority in order to list their homes on a short-term letting platform or through conventional methods.

This would give councils the ability to notify platforms about issues with listings in their area. Platforms could then individually – or collectively – remove bad hosts, preventing people from simply switching their listing to another booking site.

Airbnb wants new planning guidance that distinguishes between commercial and non-commercial/amateur lets so that local authorities can use existing powers to grant or deny permission in a transparent way.

It also believes that police and fire services should have access to the register while operators should have to prove they understand existing health and safety standards, including requirements on health and safety certificates, insurance, gas safety and cleaning. 

short lets

Merilee Karr, chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association, says: “If the home nations decide to explore registration systems further, established best practice in other European countries point to an industry-wide online system that is simple to use, easy to access and low cost to both administer and register.

“This will enable homeowners to operate transparently and in line with local policy and legislation without burdensome hurdles to being able to share their homes when they would otherwise be sitting empty.”  

The research consulted 70 representatives from local authorities, tourism organisations and local communities in cities including Brighton, Bristol, Bath, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Airbnb’s findings will now be presented to the government. 


  1. ALL LL of any type should be registered on a National database.

    That includes commercial LL.

    Councils should have the right to know who the LL are of EVERY property in their area.

    If that causes criminal to leave the PRS then so be it.

    There are millions of fraudulent tenancies out there.

    Many of the LL wouldn’t consider themselves as criminals.

    But as an example any LL letting a property without CTL from the lender is committing fraud and should be subject to RRO after the tenant is removed.

    Fraudster LL depress rents.

    There are reckoned to be about 1 million tenants currently being housed by 300000 fraudster ‘accidental LL’

    These fraudster LL tend to have residential mortgages without CTL.

    These LL will also be in breach of lender insurance requirements.

    A LL can hardly obtain LL insurance for a resi property as without CTL it shouldn’t be being let on an AST.

    If a LL does obtain LL insurance on a resi mortgage he is committing insurance fraud.

    Matters would be even further complicated if DSS tenants are in occupation.

    Few fraudster ‘accidental LL’ appreciate the potential ramifications of their fraudulent activity.

    Worse case scenario could be an uninsured and mortgaged hole in the ground.

    Most mortgaged ‘accidental LL’ are incredibly naive and don’t appreciate they are committing mortgage and insurance fraud.

    This is also the case for SA LL.

    There are NO freeholders in the UK that permit SA.

    So all SA accommodation in flats is by it’s very nature fraudulent.

    It is about time that the mass fraud that occurs in the PRS is detected.

    A robust and thorough National LL licensing system should detect most fraudster LL.

    The threat being if LL don’t register they should be subject to RRO.

    The fraudster LL who know they WON’T be able to meet licensing requirements will have to give up being LL.

    If the fraudster LL were removed from the sector that would gratifyingly create about 3 million homeless tenants.

    For too long legal LL have been victims of these fraudster LL.

    Tenants have got away with rents being far too cheap because of these fraudster LL.

    Substantial parts of the population are being housed in fraudulent letting properties.

    If there is a genuine will to reduce and eventually eradicate LL fraud then a National LL Licence system is required.

    Such a system should charge no more than £100 per property every 5 years; the same for LL.

  2. Paul
    I understand the use of abbreviations, but some in this post are unfamiliar and an explanation/key at the start or end would help immensely. Could you explain RRO, CTL, SA (as in “SA LL”) please.

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