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MP to take fight against ‘short lets’ to parliament

Westminster North Labour MP Karen Buck warns that the borough is on the industry’s ‘front line’

07 January, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Karen Buck: ‘The government have taken an extreme deregulatory approach to this and it is now time to take a good look at the sector to see how a better balance can be struck’

KAREN Buck is planning to ramp up her campaign against the short-lets industry by creating a special forum in the House of Commons.

The Westminster North Labour MP said she would set up an all-party parliamentary working group in the House of Commons this year.

Figures show 3,600 properties in Westminster were let through the Airbnb website in 2018 – double the number two years ago.

Meanwhile, 1,300 properties are being investigated for breaking the 90-day legal limit on bookings.

Ms Buck said the short-lets industry had “become an extension of the hospitality industry but without the safeguards and management operated by hotels”.

Communities are bearing the brunt in terms of noise, nuisance and excessive rubbish, she said.

“The government have taken an extreme deregulatory approach to this and it is now time to take a good look at the sector to see how a better balance can be struck,” said Ms Buck.

“Both Westminster Council and I agree that one way to do this is to simply require people to let the council know if they are doing a short let – a simple online registration process, for example.

“This would allow local authorities to know which properties are being let and make it far easier to make sure that owners are not breaching the legal requirement not to do so for more than 90 days a year.

“This would require almost no effort from the genuine home sharers, but would mean that councils are not left chasing law-breakers with one hand tied behind their backs, as at present.”

She added: “Westminster is very much on the front line of the short-lets/Airbnb industry and I am receiving more and more complaints about it.”

An Airbnb statement said: “There are many home-sharing platforms in Westminster. Airbnb is the only one that works with London to promote the rules and limit how often hosts can share their homes. Others need to step up and do the same.”

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