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London mayor must pull short-term letting ads

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The Mayor of London should pull advertisements calling on landlords to stop providing homes for Londoners and move into tourist lets.

The RLA has added its support to calls for Sadiq Khan to remove the adverts by short-term lettings company Hostmaker from the Transport for London (TfL) network.

RLA research shows that short-term letting has already had a significant impact on the number of homes to rent available to Londoners and has the potential to push up rents.

Figures show listings on the short-term lettings site, Airbnb, increased by 60 per cent to 53,000 listings in the capital in the 12 months to 2017 alone and the popularity of these sites shows no sign of abating.

Laws limit the number of days homes in London can be let on a short-term basis to 90 nights a year to prevent homes being taken from the long-term rental market, with Airbnb making a firm commitment to enforcing these rules.

However, a recent BBC investigation found Hostmaker was one of a number of companies encouraging people to flout them.

London Assembly member Tom Copley has now written to Mr Khan who is chair of TfL, asking for the advertisements to be removed, with a petition on the issue attracting more than 600 signatures.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association said: “While people have the right to do what they want with their properties, the movement of homes from the long term to short-term lettings sector is damaging to communities and to the supply of homes to rent for ordinary Londoners.

“The sentiment of these advertisements contradicts the Mayor’s own policy on short-term lettings, and we call for their swift removal.”

Update:

Since the article was published Hostmaker has announced it will be removing the advertisements.

Nakul Sharma, Hostmaker chief executive said: “We are sorry for the concern caused by our recent ad campaign and we acknowledge the tone was misguided. The adverts will be coming down this weekend and we will be reviewing all future creatives with our partners. 

“In a cosmopolitan city like London, there is a need for a range of housing and rental solutions to meet the needs of the wide variety of residents and visitors in our capital city. 

“Whilst it’s critical that there is plenty of affordable housing stock available, our portfolio is made up of premium homes in zone 1&2 postcodes and does not take affordable housing stock away from the market. 

“We are here to meet the needs of Londoners and visitors to the capital who would prefer to stay in a high quality, furnished and managed home service. 

“We provide a flexible lettings model to homeowners of these type of properties; blending long-term, mid-term and short-term rentals to suit market demands and help homeowners weather the current slump in rent prices and property sales, ensuring they aren’t left with gaps in the year when their property is standing empty.”

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.

6 Comments

  • The British Government claims it provides not just financial assistance but also other support networks for the betterment of entrepreneurship in UK, yet passes Laws to limit the number of days homes in London can be let on a short-term basis to 90 nights a year to prevent homes being taken from the long-term rental market, when the responsibility to provide homes for the general population lies with the government and not the individual trying to get ahead.

    David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association said: “While people have the right to do what they want with their properties, the movement of homes from the long term to short-term lettings sector is damaging to communities and to the supply of homes to rent for ordinary Londoners. Ordinary Londoners this is really talking about the mass influx of people into the U.K. from other countries that are provided with housing funded by the British government (British Tax Payers) for people that have never contributed monies to the BritishTax system.

    The U.K. Government is doing nothing positive for people in the U.K. that are working hard to become landlords in order to provide better futures for themselves and their future generations….. WHY???

    It’s about time property owners in the U.K. stood up together and said enough is enough, we are being over taxed, we are being restricted from free trade on our investments, yes we agree their should be controls for suitable health and hygiene but controlling how one creates an income to pay for one’s investment from one property shouldn’t be restricted by these new 90 day limits.

  • I am not sure the RLA is acting in the best interest of their members. The fact that Government have failed miserably in providing social housing does not give them the right to take over the PRS and convert it into long term tenancies. It is shameful; just look at the name “Assured Shorthold Tenancy” – this is what landlords invested in; not to solve governments incompetence. Not social housing with unlimited length tenancies. With S21 abolition it will drive many landlords to look elsewhere for their income if they wish to retain property in the UK. An alternative might be investment in holiday rentalvillas in the Mediterainian?

    David Smith is contradicting himself by saying landlords should be able to do what they want with their own properties and seems very weak on defending S21.

  • I’m not a London landlord but can see that this shift must be related to the Section 24 withdrawal of interest relief for unincorporated landlords of long term lets whilst allowing full offset for those operating holiday lets. This is just one of the consequences of George Osborne’s incorrect statement that the tax system favoured BTL investors over owner occupiers.

    I can see the reasoning behind the RLA intervention, however there comes a point where landlords need to look after their own interests in a climate where government policy is actually intending that a significant number (mainly unincorporated leveraged landlords) are forced out of their investments. The current situation of loss of supply of what for many landlords are now unprofitable long term lets is actually drawing attention to the situation four years down the line and reflect what many, including the RLA, predicted in 2015 – the PRS would be weakened by the changes.

    I appreciate that the RLA put a great deal of effort into attempting a reversal of S24, however, no ground was given and the government has continued playing to the gallery in piling layer upon layer of change.

    As the RLA intervention is unlikely to cause the government to revisit any of the issues that brought about the situation, I don’t support its action in this case.

  • The simple reason for many landlords switching to short-term letting is the result of Section 24, coupled with the draconian extra regulation imposed by central and local government. I do not short let in London but I do elsewhere. Without the extra income I would no longer be able to support my London properties. If David Smith wishes to support Sadiq Khan’s moronic Marxist campaign then it’s time I cancelled my membership of the RLA.

  • Perhaps you might like to look at yesterday’s Sunday Times, page 11…. Which food ad did Sadiq Khan’s junk food policy get banned on the Tube? Farmdrop; showing a large selection of groceries for delivery which included bacon, butter and jam – or KFC; showing a huge £31.99 bucket of fried chicken containing 6,800 calories?

    KFC was fine, Farmdrop banned.

    If you wish to align yourselves with spurious matters outside the actual core business of supporting landlords you will lose support in my opinion. The ludicrous consequences of a poorly thought out food advert policy has strong parallels with the government policy in the PRS. The judgement of the mayor’s policy on housing related advertising is called into question when his judgement seems flawed on food advertising and the judgement of those who align themselves with his policy also then comes under the spotlight.

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