The RLA’s research into Airbnb and its impact on the PRS has been referenced in the House of Lords.
During oral questions in the House of Lords, Baroness Gardner of Parkes (Conservative) asked what plans the government has to prevent leaseholders whose leases do not permit the short-term subletting of their properties from registering those properties with holiday letting firms.
She asked, in particular, if the government might allow people to apply to councils for a certificate saying they had the right to a short let.
CLG Minister, Lord Bourne, responded by simply saying that “the government are not intent on interfering with freedom of contract. It is a matter between landlords and tenants. I must make it clear that we are not considering regulations in this area at all.”
Lord Palmer of Childs Hill (Liberal Democrat) went on to cite the RLA’s research, sent to him in a briefing on Airbnb last May, referencing listings in London.
He said: “As the Minister will know, the Residential Landlords Association says that there are now 33,000 listings on the Airbnb website for holiday-type and short-term lettings.
“Alarmingly, 65% were available for more than 90 days a year, which is the point that the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner, is really getting at because that is in breach of planning law.
“Will the Minister please say whether central government have made any assessment of what that has done to the housing market? Is it sufficient to leave it to local authorities, which do not enforce this? We make laws and we do not enforce them.”
Lord Bourne responded: “Breach of planning regulations is very different from the issue of freedom of contract. In relation to that matter, I have met with Airbnb. It does not now carry anyone who lets their property for more than 90 days at a time unless they have planning permission to do so.
“That is the company’s rule and it has contacted all those who propose to let property to let them know that. Since then, the Minister for Housing and Planning has written to all the other suppliers indicating that they should do similarly and that if there is a contractual provision they should abide by that as well.”
To read the full transcript of proceedings click here.
To read the RLA’s most recent Airbnb research click here.