Half of short term lets in Camden exceeded the 90-night legal limit in 2019

New research by Camden Council estimates that nearly half of the short term let properties available in the borough last year exceeded the legal 90-night allowance.

The council collected data on entire homes available for short term let throughout 2019 and of the approximately 7,100 homes available, 3,400 (48%) exceeded the 90-night allowance – representing over half of the homes needed in the borough to help the 6,000 families on the council’s housing waiting list.

However, it remains difficult to effectively locate properties being used for short term let. Avoidance tactics such as listing a property across multiple sites, using different locations and different photos make it harder for local authorities to effectively enforce breaches of the de-regulation act, which allows properties to be rented for up to 90-nights without applying for planning permission.

Therefore, the true extent to which the short term let market is being exploited remains a hidden issue and often only comes to light when residents are frequently disturbed by tourists.

Short term lets do have benefits such as offering home owners additional income, accommodation for visitors to the borough and helping residents to meet new people. However, at a time when around a third of Camden residents rent from private landlords and more permanent homes are needed, properties being used as full-time short term lets risk adding to the housing shortage and driving up rents.

In response the council is calling for the introduction of a mandatory register or licensing system for short term let properties so that the 90-night law can be properly enforced.

Acting within the current legislation Camden Council also plans to introduce a short term let pilot scheme later this year. The pilot scheme will see the council collaborate with residents on finding properties in short term let use and raising awareness of the 90-night limit.

Councillor Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities
Camden’s response to the rapid rise of short term let properties has been to use technology to help our fight against the damaging loss of permanent homes from our communities.

Homes are being lost at a time of significant need and most short term lets are two to four bed properties, the very same properties that are desperately needed by local families. Without these properties available locally, a knock-on effect is felt as prices remaining sky-high and desperate families go on being trapped, unable to move on from often unsuitable and overcrowded conditions.

Combining this new technology and working directly with our residents will allow us to take the necessary steps towards bringing back properties in to permanent residential use.

However, there is only so much that we are able to do within the current system that is too easily exploited. Multiple listings, different addresses and different photos all for the same property make enforcement near impossible while our housing supply is being quietly decimated. Often unscrupulous businesses, breaking the law are making serious money, while local residents see ever higher rents and ongoing disturbance.

This is why we are calling for a mandatory register or licensing system for all short term let properties that will allow us to properly enforce the 90-night limit, help keep our diverse communities together and enable residents to live, work and build their lives in the borough.
Councillor Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities