Westminster Council has launched a spirited campaign to stop central London being overrun by nuisance short-term lets booked chiefly through Airbnb.

It is lobbying the government to follow Paris and Amsterdam’s lead whose authorities have clamped down on problem properties.

Westminster wants the power to fine owners whose lets create anti-social behaviour and to introduce exemptions for high impact areas which can’t cope with such high numbers.

The council says short-term letting occurs on an industrial scale in the city where more than 13,000 properties are available on sites such as Airbnb but also Booking.com.

2,000 breaches

Almost one in three of its residents in the West End complain that irresponsible short-term letting is a problem in the area and its team is currently investigating 2,000 breaches of short-term let rules.

Ahead of proposed renting reforms mentioned in the government’s Levelling Up White Paper which are likely to include a national landlord register, Westminster wants short-term letting companies to introduce registration schemes.

robathon westminster airbnb short lets

Council leader Rachael Robathan (pictured) says that while some properties are let responsibly, many are not and these result in noise, illegal dumping, antisocial behaviour and sometimes criminal activity.

She adds: “Many short-term let properties are causing a strain on council resources and making life hell for many of our residents who constantly complain to us about the detrimental effect they are having.

“We need more restrictions and powers given to us as a local authority to tackle short-term letting anti-social behaviour impacting our communities.”

Westminster Council is already tough on the PRS and operates a Housing Standards Taskforce and an online rent repayment checker for tenants to check if their HMO is licenced and to help them claim back rent.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yep – target a very successful “FHL” sector – just because the Gov/LA have never built houses for rent and they are now panicking as even more PRS landlords will be going this way.

    AirBnB works very well – landlords review guests and guests review both a property and its landlord.

    If any of them get poor reviews, people stop renting the property and landlords stop renting to the poor guests.

    Its a system that works far better than the PRS, is more useful, fairer and far more accountable to all.

    Of course local residents are going to complain – they’ve had all the horror stories about the loss of PRS properties and already know their rents are going up.

  2. AirBnB is a virus… it allows overseas money to buy up property to rent back to tourists at the expense of residents. There is no shortage of property in this country, only governments that refuse to clamp down on 2nd home ownership, AirBnB rentals, holidays homes etc. Sooner of later there will be a shift in electrorate to the young who don’t have a vested interest in maintaining this status quo… and that will be worth watching as the goverment of the time finally turn on this type of property ownership.

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