Press Releases

Holiday Let websites adding to London housing crisis

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Newly updated research raises serious concerns that the growth of listings on holiday letting websites is adding to the housing shortage in London, with the majority of entire property lettings being available for more than three months a year.

A new analysis by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has found that 61% of entire homes and apartments listed on Airbnb in London were advertised as being available for more than 90 days per year in June.

The RLA is concerned that some property owners may be using holiday letting sites as a way of providing long term accommodation without having to abide by all the regulations, safety and insurance provisions covering the private rented sector.

Planning permission is required for short term holiday lets in London available for over 90 days in any given year to prevent property owners from getting round regulations governing the long term renting of property to tenants.

The RLA is calling on the Mayor of London and the Government to undertake a review of the policing of Airbnb type models to ensure that those advertising lets of longer than 90 days have permission and are not seeking to get round the law.

There is also concern as to how many social and private tenants are subletting in contravention of their tenancy agreements.

The research shows that 41% of all Airbnb listings in London in June were multi-listings meaning the property owners had more than one property listed. This increased from 38% in February. The number increased from 12,744 to 17,593, a sign that the website is increasingly becoming commercialised.

Commenting, RLA Policy Director, David Smith said:

“London more than anywhere else in the country is in desperate need of more homes to rent and to buy.”

“Given the pressures faced in the Capital it is important that properties advertised as being available for more than 90 days a year are genuine holiday lets with appropriate planning permission. Otherwise, as well as taking rental stock off the market for those looking for somewhere to live, they are also putting tenants in a vulnerable position without all the protections offered by a tenancy agreement.”

“We are calling on the Mayor of London and the Government to work together to improve the policing of such sites to ensure they are not being abused.”



  • The RLA represents 40,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.
  • Further information about the RLA can be found at or by following it on twitter @RLA_News.
  • The RLA’s analysis finds that:
    • Between February and June 2016, the number of homes listed in London on Airbnb increased by 27% from 33,715 to 42,646.
    • Over the same period, the number of entire homes or apartments listed on Airbnb in London increased from 17,625 to 21,861, an increase of 24%.
    • 61% of entire homes and apartments listed on Airbnb in London are listed as being available for more than 90 days per year. The actual number increased from 11,296 in February to 13,320 in June – an 18% increase over this period.
  • For further information please contact the RLA’s consultant, Ed Jacobs on 0113 278 0211 (office), 07706386773 (out of office hours) or email


About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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