Airbnb: Islington housing chief calls for greater enforcement powers

The Airbnb office. Picture: Open Grid Scheduler/Grid Engine / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Airbnb office. Picture: Open Grid Scheduler/Grid Engine / Flickr/Creative Commons - Credit: Archant

Islington’s housing boss today called for further powers from central government to enforce Airbnb’s ban on users renting out entire properties for more than 90 days.

Cllr Diarmund Ward told the Gazette people renting out their homes on the website were clogging up housing that could otherwise be used to ease the borough’s housing crisis.

It comes after Airbnb announced it would stop people letting out entire houses for more than 90 days at a time unless they had planning permission.

“We welcome the announcement,” said Cllr Ward. “We have long held concerns that the huge growth in short lets is eroding permanent housing stock in Islington, forcing up already exorbitant local rents.

“Council caseworkers have had a number of complaints about this.”

Complaints are believed to come from neighbours of houses occupied by Airbnb renters with residents frustrated by excessive noise and rubbish. Many in need of housing have also expressed concern.

While the regulations are a “step in the right direction,” he added, “the council needs the tools from central government to actively regulate this”.

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In a letter to users on Thursday, Airbnb said: “We firmly believe this step will help build a better London for everyone.

“We want to be good partners and continue to lead our industry on this matter, and ensure home sharing grows responsibly and sustainably.”

As of Friday, there were 306 rooms available to rent in Islington on the website. An independent report this week revealed almost 3 per cent of the borough’s private housing had been listed on Airbnb at some point in 2015, compared with a 1pc average across the capital.

The new rule comes into effect in the spring.