Mayor John Biggs has signed a letter along with other council leaders, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Airbnb to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government calling for ‘light touch’ regulation of short term lets.

At the moment the law allows properties to be let out for a maximum of 90 days for short term lets, however it’s currently very difficult to enforce this if those letting out properties exceed the limit. Airbnb has voluntarily implemented checks on this but despite requests, other short term letting platforms have not shared their data with local authorities.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wrote in March 2017 to six other online short-term letting platforms Veeve, Onefinestay, Wimdu, Booking.com, HomeAway and Airsorted urging them to share data, without success.

This latest joint letter calls on the government to now compel all short term letting platforms to share information in a simple way so that councils can easily enforce the 90 day limit.

Tower Hamlets previously asked the governmentto allow it to exempt “those parts of the borough that are most severely affected by the growth of short-term letting” from the law allowing people to let out their homes but the government refused this.

In 2015, 4,500 Tower Hamlets homes were let on Airbnb alone. By 2017, this had nearly doubled. Currently, 3,800 entire homes and are listed on Airbnb alone – more than 3 per cent of the total housing in the borough (126k). In addition, 3,700 single rooms are available – many of them in flats that consist only of rooms let on a short term basis.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “Short terms lets can be a way for residents to earn some extra money, however we need to have some balance and residential properties cannot be turned into what are essentially hotels. The current legislation is simply not working in practice and I urge government to step in and give us the means to enforce the rules.”

Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing: “We are committed to protecting housing supply and we need all short term letting platforms to provide us with data we can use to properly regulate this growing sector. As a council we are committed to ensuring that our residents are not adversely impacted by short term lets.”

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