As Airbnb prepares to recommend whether hosts should face mandatory registration, Inside Airbnb says up to 40% of short-let properties in the capital are being run year-round as professional accommodation.

A campaigning group which monitors Airbnb listings in the UK has claimed that 40% of the platform’s properties in London have been breaking the 90-day rental limit agreed for the city.

Inside Airbnb, which is a privately-funded website that offers landlords and tenants free tools to analyse Airbnb listings in cities throughout the world including London, claims that some 35,250 Airbnb listings in the capital are entire vacant homes that it classes as ‘highly available’ year-round for tourists.

It claims that these ‘could be illegal’ because many landlords use both Airbnb and other platforms to rent their homes out and circumvent the 90-day rule.

Airbnb currently lists 87,235 properties in London, although the platform has been blocking bookings nationally during the Coronavirus crisis.

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The Inside Airbnb data is mentioned within a new document published by The House of Commons Library to brief MPs ahead of next month’s expected report from Airbnb following a 10-month tour of the UK by its executives.

This report will recommend the best way forward but is expected to suggest a system of property registration across the UK for short-term rentals and, if they adopt proposals already put forward by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, require property owners to register their properties before they could be rented out.

STAA

The government has, effectively, outsourced regulation of Airbnb and its competitors to the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAFF) which it has made the lead body to oversee suppliers in the sector. An attempt by Labour MP Karen Buck to introduce legislation failed after it ran out of time in parliament.

LandlordZONE put the points made by Inside Airbnb and its data on London to the STAA. It says that the 40% percentage quoted includes private and shared rooms in houses and well as whole properties, and that its analysis of the Inside Airbnb site suggests only 10% are ‘highly available’ and ‘frequently booked’.

“Inside Airbnb’s own data disclaimer says ‘Some hosts might not keep their calendar updated, or have it highly available even though they live in the entire home/apartment.’ That contributes to the potential for this data to be not truly accurate,” its spokesperson says.

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