“Ban these short let adverts!” – trade body and Labour unite in plea

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

The Residential Landlords Association has written to Khan specifying one short lets management firm that is advertising in this way on the Transport for London 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.

The 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 a number of companies encouraging people to flout these rules.

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association says: “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.”

The RLA’s call comes after a letter being sent to Mayor Khan by Labour’s spokesman on housing in the London Assembly – and he, too, wants tube advertisements for the short-lets management firm to be banned.

Labour’s Tom Copley argues that it is encouraging landlords to break the law and flout the 90-day annual limit for short-term lettings in London.

Under the Deregulation Act 2015 it is illegal for landlords in London to let their homes for more than 90 nights a year on short-term lets unless they secure planning permission.

In his letter to the Mayor, Copley argues that the limit is “vital” in preventing an increasing number of London properties becoming “permanent holiday homes… at time of housing crisis in our city”.

Copley has called upon the Mayor to update Transport for London’s advertising policy to only allow advertisements from short-term letting management companies if they have implemented a voluntary cap to enforce the 90-day limit.

Last month, the Mayor called upon the government to introduce a short-term letting registration system in the capital.

“With a burgeoning housing crisis in London, it is unacceptable that unscrupulous companies … which encourage landlords to flout the law are being allowed to advertise on the TfL network” says Copley.

“This is sending the wrong message when we should be focussing on tightening regulation in the expanding home-sharing sector in the capital to prevent long-term rented housing for Londoners being lost to holiday lets for tourists.”

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