0:04 AM, 27th September 2023, About 2 months ago 8
A council in London is warning Airbnbs are creating an ‘enforcement nightmare’
Westminster council is calling for new powers to clamp down on short-term lets and is calling for calling for the introduction of a compulsory registration scheme for short-term let properties.
The council says they have more properties listed on Airbnb than any other borough in London, with 11,800 properties let over the period from January to July this year.
One block in Westminster has been known to offer almost as many rooms per night than the Ritz (98 compared to the Ritz’s 111)
However, the building contributed just £92,000 in council tax, compared to the £2.27m paid by the Ritz.
Council leader Adam Hug told the Caterer magazine: “Fundamentally, the rise of short-term lets has created an uneven playing field for many of Westminster’s hospitality firms, where traditional providers pay business rates, corporation tax and comply with regulations, in stark contrast to the small business exemptions enjoyed by short-term lets.”
He added that local people in area have to endure with noisy parties. “There is minimal regulation overall, which has created an enforcement nightmare for our city, creating misery for our long-term residents who find their neighbours replaced by party flats.”
“One desperate resident messaged us to say: “They started a loud party soon after 11PM with loud music above us. More and more people are coming even now. It is not the first time; they make any sleep impossible.” Should that person have to pay for the clean-up through their council tax?”
Mr Hug added that the council is also calling for a tax on overnight stays and powers to issue penalties to unregistered hosts.
He said: “As we continue to face tens of millions in cuts over the next few years, the time has come to consider whether London’s local authorities might be able to decide for themselves if they want to charge a small levy, on short lets as well as hotels, as can be found in cities around the world.
“This could be invested in protecting and enhancing everything from keeping the streets clean to keeping people safe and, when you consider the impact of events like the King’s Coronation, which drew millions to Westminster, this has to be seriously considered.”
The council is calling for a return to the pre-2015 position in London, where short-term letting of entire residential homes required planning permission and the council had the power to stop short-term lets in parts of the city.
A government consultation on introducing a registration scheme for short-term lets in England closed for submissions in June this year.