Short-term lets are causing misery warns council

Short-term lets are causing misery warns council

0:04 AM, 27th September 2023, About 2 months ago 8

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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.

Creating misery for long-term residents

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?”

Charge a small levy on short lets

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.

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11:19 AM, 27th September 2023, About 2 months ago

I can see the benefits for tourists who, maybe, can't find a decent and affordable quality hotel, or want more flexibility. I've done it myself abroad. But, this has created an uneven playing field, and I can speak from experience how the lives of other residents in apartment blocks and neighbouring houses are blighted from incessant partying, damage, and compromises of security. That doesn't seem to happen in, say, Rome.

I decided not to put my house on the holiday let market. I have just sold it and taken the profit, rather than put it on the much needed rental market. I would have got a minimum £30k pa in rent, with no mortgage, and potentially twice that as a holiday let. Instead, I will put my money to better use elsewhere, than have the hassle and costs of letting.

Councils levy swingeing charges on private landlords, yet don't do anything about holiday lets. This has contributed to landlords removing properties from the rental market in favour of short term letting.

Stop talking and just do it. It's a captive market. Owners will either suck it up because their profits are so big, or they'll stop.

Freda Blogs

11:35 AM, 27th September 2023, About 2 months ago

“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.”
I suspect many LLs will sympathise with the uneven playing field, where the rise in short term lets has been driven at the expense of the long term let and its differential tax and legal treatment. Perhaps Westminster Council could send some delegates up the road to Parliament to have a word about the appalling impact that their tinkering with the PRS is having.

Bristol Landlord

15:04 PM, 27th September 2023, About 2 months ago

I definitely sympathise with landlords who have switched from long term lettings to short term furnished, this being due to the unfair taxes and regulations on long term lettings.
The City of Westminster need to recognise why many landlords have switched and take this to the Govt and ask for fair play in the treatment of landlords. Govt changes could result in many Airbnbs switching back to long term rental.
I also sympathise with neighbours having to put up with the Airbnb next door being a party flat, it is unfair on them. I think it is inevitable that Airbnb will need Planning and become heavily regulated and require a licence to operate, much like an HMO.
I also should add that the City of Westminster don’t help themselves. I have a 2 bed flat in Maida Vale W9 which I rent out long term to two sharers. When mortgage rates started to rise I considered converting the dining room into a third bedroom which would have been an easy conversion. It would have been a win-win situation as I would get more rent and another person would have a place to call home. But when I realised that going from 2 tenants to 3 would require an HMO license from Westminster and no one could tell me exactly what was required to be changed, including the Council, it looked likely to be a real can of worms I was opening, so I dropped the idea. So now it’s still a 2 bed and a third person doesn’t have a room in a beautiful Mansion Flat thanks to the Council. I think 3 in a flat should not be an HMO but perhaps the HMO licensing requirement should start at 4 in a property. Just changing that requirement could persuade thousands of landlords to free up another room in a city with a desperate shortage of rooms.
Incidentally, a London property manager told me that In Westminster there are hundreds, if not thousands, of 3 bed flats which have one bedroom locked up and is rented to just 2 tenants instead of 3 because the landlord can’t deal with Westminster’s unreasonable HMO licence demands.
Well done City of Westminster, your heads seem to be firmly where the “sun don’t shine” regarding freeing up desperately needed rooms to rent.


15:36 PM, 27th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Councils are stuck between need and greed!


17:57 PM, 27th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Section 24, EICR, minimum EPC Ratings, threat of removing Section 21 and other anti-landlord Tory nonsense contained in the Renters (Reform) Bill are well known REASONS for some property owners switching to holiday letting.

There is another. During lockdown, landlords couldn’t evict tenants for ANY reason. Meanwhile, holiday let owners were given thousands of pounds. Some were given more than their holiday lets would have earned. Some received the taxpayer money many, many times.

Michael Booth

11:39 AM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Why is it that the councils answer to a problem is to tax it , you have created the problem with draconian licences demonising landlords, aterall the landlord in the prs are doing a huge favour to the council by letting property in return they are treat like trash.


11:51 AM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Charging, under the guise of doing something else, is simply a ruse to raise money. With councils, it's to ensure safe, warm, secure housing, except they only seem to fine those who don't pay their license. With Khan in London, it's ULEZ, where he says it's necessary to save lives, but then you can pay £12.50 and drive an old, smoke-belching vehicle all day. Tomorrow, w go to Wales for a week, and will experience the 20mph tax!

Reluctant Landlord

13:45 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

find out WHY there ae more and more short term lets fiorst. THEN decide what to do IF required.
You will find this is not a local 'problem' but a nationwide one.

Just because there is a propensity to ASSUME the effect of more LL's in a certain area are opting to short term let (because of the relative stats) does not mean that the reasons are a localised issue.

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