Call for one month limit in London’s Airbnb rent out homes plan

The British government’s plan for Londoners to rent out their home for three months a year has received a shock knock-back by a flagship Tory council in the city.

Londoners to be able to rent out their rooms in short-term lets

Londoners short-term lets of their rooms may be shorter than they imagined  if Westminster City Council gets its way Image by Thomas Abbs / CC BY 2.0

Westminster City Council wants the 90-day maximum rental period mooted reduced to just one month. And it has added that they also want London homeowners to register when they let out their property. When ministers came up with a new set of rules this week over the proposed “Airbnb” shake-up, it looked like they were given the thumbs to allow Londoners to rent out their properties and make thousands of pounds in the process. They envisaged that their more up-to-date ruling would replace the existing one where people in the capital are banned from letting either their flat or house for less than three months without planning permission under an archaic 1973 law.

The authorities sought to scrap this restriction, opening the way for locals to benefit from its “sharing” economy policy. There has been opposition among politicians and local councils which have warned that some blocks of flats would be turned into de facto hotels with the potential for noisy parties and other anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster’s cabinet member for sustainability, said they were aware of the scale of the issue from the potential of housing benefit fraud to vomit on doorsteps and the possibility of fire in corridors. However Ms Acton welcomed the Government’s proposed ruling and the possible exemption for some areas of London from the scheme. She felt though that some didn’t go nearly far enough. She said that by reducing the let from three months to one, the authorities could be sure the transaction was for holiday purposes.

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