Confusing planning laws banning owners from renting out their homes as holiday lets in London are due to be scrapped.
Although thousands of homes in the capital are advertised as short-term lets, doing so is illegal unless the owner has permission from the local council.
If prosecuted, the penalty for flouting the law is a fine of up to £20,000.
Now, an amendment to the law is moving through Parliament.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis confirmed the law will change in a written statement to the House of Commons.
He explained the rules are ‘outdated and inconsistently enforced’, which leads to confusion for home owners and councils.
“We want to update these laws to help boost the sharing economy, in light of the popularity of websites like Airbnb and Onefinestay, to help people rent out their property on a short-term basis.” he said.
“It will provide income to householders who want to rent out their home – for example, if they themselves go on holiday.”
The amended law will allow owners to rent out their homes or rooms in their homes for up to three months a year without needing any permission from the council.
The problem was highlighted at the London Olympics 2012 when councils around the Olympic Park relaxed planning laws to allow homeowners to rent out their properties.
The practise is common around sports events – like the Wimbledon tennis championships.
However, other councils take a tougher stance.
Westminster City Councillor Heather Acton, said: “This is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. This is not about being bureaucratic – it is about making sure housing in central London does not become a chain of default hotels with rooms rented out at exorbitant prices to the highest bidder.”
Web site Airbnb welcomed the amendment to the law and suggested thousands of singles with spare rooms could benefit by taking in short-term guests.
Confusing Planning Laws Banning Owners from Renting Out their Homes as Holiday Lets in London are to be Scrapped – http://t.co/q2PwEjN9pq
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) February 16, 2015