The independent London newspaper

These short-lets let us all down

13 March, 2020

• THOSE who have joined the Airbnb-style bonanza are letting fellow Britons down in a number of ways. Not only are such homes not being made available to those in need of accommodation, locally, but these property owners are ignoring the needs of the country in order to fill their own wallets.

There is a housing shortage and those with properties available should be helping by giving priority to Britons, not making the situation worse.

These short-lets are often damaging communities, annoying neighbours, sometimes breaking the law, damaging the hotel and regular B&B businesses, perhaps causing the laying off of staff or even closure of smaller hotels.

I am told that in areas where the short-letting is proliferating, some infant and primary schools are finding that their school intake is reduced, for homes that used to house young children no longer do so.

In my estate the lease is quite clear that a flat (or its parking space or garage) may not be let at all; yet for years some local firms of letting agents have been breaking contract law by acting in cahoots with rogue leaseholders to let flats.

It’s much the same with the short-let industry and what a problem it is stopping these rogue landlords from ignoring the terms of their lease.

More recently we’ve seen a number of key safes being installed, too, without permission, in our building entrances, some we suspect related to the short-let industry. It’s another problem for decent leaseholders to have to deal with.

Perhaps the coronavirus will provide some relief. Tourists will come less and, while that’s not good for the economy, many of us don’t want tourists as our neighbours in short-let properties; and we certainly want to discourage those who may have been recently in virus hot-spots.

A lot of the property owners offering short-lets will surely be trusted less than hotels, in terms of arrangements for the health and safety of their guests.

I cannot imagine that the likes of Airbnb can inspect satisfactorily for cleanliness the huge number of homes and rooms on their books. Even better, perhaps, an outcome of coronavirus, will be the natural curtailing of this ghastly short-let business.

Good luck to Camden Council with its efforts to regulate the short-let business. Many residents will be pleased to see the back of the likes of Airbnb.

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