Holiday-let websites worsening the capital’s housing shortage, finds report.

A report published today directly links the scale of short-term lettings of London properties on popular holiday-let websites like Airbnb with pushing up rents and making it ever more difficult for people to find somewhere to live; adding to the capital’s housing crisis.

The research, compiled and released by New York City based web-site Inside Airbnb who previously revealed similar impacts on the New York housing market, shows more than 1,400 listings for Camden alone out of a total of 18,436 listings for London.

Last week the Government’s Deregulation Act came into force making it easier for landlords to use their London properties to command extortionate rents from tourists, whilst over a third of people in Camden alone are reliant on the private rented sector for housing.​

Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council
With thousands of London families in need of a home, we need to strongly resist the growing market for short stay lets of homes in areas like Camden, as we know these will reduce the options available for normal Londoners looking for somewhere affordable to live.  

“Whilst in boroughs like Camden we’re doing what we can to alleviate the housing crisis building 3,050 new homes over 15 years, more families than ever before are dependent on renting their home privately from a landlord.”
Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council

As the leaders of London’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme, Camden Council is supporting boroughs across the capital with work to ensure the private rented sector is fit for purpose for its increasing role, focusing on improving conditions, a strong voice for private tenants, increasing supply and affordability.

The Government’s Deregulation Act means a change in law. Previously, Londoners were potentially breaking planning law by using short term letting sites on their residential property. Now, the act allows them to use the sites, but there is a limit of 90 days a year. However, it is extremely difficult for local authorities to prove that an individual property has been let out for more than 90 days but this research suggests that many people are potentially breaking the law.

Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council
“The Government’s 90-day rule solution is inadequate as it can’t be properly enforced; we need tougher measures to help stabilise this growing problem.  Let me be clear this is not about private tenants and homeowners who rent out their spare rooms to bring in some extra cash to pay the mortgage or the rent, but we are seriously concerned at the expansion of this market through deregulation and the growth of sites such as Airbnb using London homes like hotels, which is reducing our badly-needed private rented sector supply.”  
Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council

Inside Airbnb shows an average price per night for entire properties of £154, 140% higher than the median rent for the borough, and average incomes for entire properties per month of £1,072. It also shows that in Camden 85% of listings are available for more than 90 days a year, and 67% are available for more than 243 days a year. It is also estimated that 610 (43%) are booked for more than 90 days a year. These properties may be in breach of the new 90 limit.

The data also demonstrated that 45% of the Camden listings were by a host with more than one property (in one case, a single user had 26 properties listed in Camden and 106 across London) listed on the site while nearly two thirds (851) of Camden’s total listings were for entire properties in the borough.

There are numerous cases where private companies or landlords with many properties are using Airbnb to rent out properties permanently – in effect as hotels.

Growing numbers of residents are also complaining about noise or other anti-social behaviour linked to short-term lets.