London mayor must pull short-term letting ads
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.”
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.”