IslingtonTribune

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‘Ban Airbnb parties’ plea to Town Hall

Labour chiefs are urged to take action over growing popularity of websites that allow people to turn their homes into temporary hotels

01 December, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Councillor Diarmaid Ward: ‘From next March, council leaseholders will have to register with us on an annual basis if they want to rent out their homes on Airbnb or similar websites’

THE Town Hall has been asked to consider banning people from renting out their homes to holiday let firms such as Airbnb.

Labour chiefs will be urged to take action over the growing popularity of the sites, which see tourist cut costs on accommodation by booking flats and homes.

The ability to turn homes in residential areas into temporary hotels with the click of a mouse, however, has led to concerns that short-term visitors use the properties for parties.

It has also been claimed that landlords in central London areas such as Islington can make more money through Airbnb than the private rental market, potentially reducing the options for people looking for somewhere to live.

A question has been tabled ahead of Thursday’s full council meeting by Martin Rutherford, chairman of Popham 1 Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, who says the practice should be stopped.

Earlier this year police were called to an Airbnb party in Canonbury which attracted 200 revellers who kept neighbours awake until the early hours with loud music. Cities worldwide have struggled to cope with the controversy Airbnb has caused, but some have imposed tough rules in a bid to fight back.

Berlin banned landlords from renting more than half of their property on a short-term basis without a permit. New York has stopped all short-term rentals of less than 30 days.

Mr Rutherford will ask housing chief Councillor Diarmaid Ward: “I would like to propose that Islington Council ban all residents allowing the use of Airbnb and similar companies in their properties, but particularly the council estates that have a security gate system.

“We never know who are using these properties, and, while the tenant or leaseholder holds responsibility for the strangers on our estates, we do not feel safe that these strangers have access to our security fobs, which they can pass around as they like.

“There have been numerous reports of people abusing this system to have parties and cause disruption to residents in neighbouring properties. Security and safety should be paramount in our homes.

“With a ‘free-for-all’ attitude allowing anyone free rein on our secure estates, this is not the case.”

It is illegal for council tenants to rent out their properties on websites such as Airbnb. The council reclaims about 70 flats a year due to fraud, though not all for this reason.

Leaseholders who rent out properties for more than 90 days a year must seek planning permission.

Cllr Ward revealed last night that the council was taking further action to clamp down on abuse of the system.

“The two big problems with these websites is that they push up rent for locals – landlords can make up to three times as much money from short-term lets compared to longer-term rentals – and it means there are less properties to rent for local people overall.

“From next March, council leaseholders will have to register with us on an annual basis if they want to rent out their homes on Airbnb or similar websites.”

Airbnb has said it wants to work with local authorities and has had meetings with London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s officials at City Hall.

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