Airbnb has long led the way in championing progressive rules for our industry, and welcomes the Government’s decision to introduce a registration scheme for short-term lets in England. New proposed planning rules for tourist hotspots, however, need to strike a balance between protecting housing and supporting everyday families who let their space to help afford their home and keep pace with rising living costs.
Having first called for a modern national registration scheme in our Summer 2021 White Paper following an Airbnb-led consultation with communities from across the UK, the announcement of the register is a huge step forward in protecting housing and unlocking the benefits of home sharing for everyday British families and communities across the country.
A national register should provide clear and simple rules that are easy for regular people to follow, and produce accurate, industry-wide data for government and local authorities to support effective policymaking, including the number, type, occupancy, and concentration of short-term lets across the country, and their impact within specific communities.
Any planning rules should be carefully considered and built on evidence generated by the national Host register. This will help ensure that government interventions are necessary and proportionate. Planning rules should also strike a balance between protecting housing and supporting everyday families – and their communities – who rely on the income from home sharing to support their families, afford their homes and rising living costs.
Theo Lomas, Head of Public Policy and Government Relations, Northern Europe, said, “Airbnb has long called for a national register for short-term lets and we welcome the government taking this forward. We know that registers are clear and simple for everyday Hosts to follow while giving authorities the information they need to regulate effectively. We want to work with the government to ensure that any planning interventions are carefully considered, evidence-based, and strike a balance between protecting housing and supporting everyday families who let their space to help afford their home and keep pace with rising living costs.”
The vast majority of UK Hosts on Airbnb share just one listing, often their main home, with the typical Host earning just over £6,000 a year – equivalent to two months additional pay for the median UK household. Furthermore over a third of Hosts say they use the income from Airbnb to afford the rising cost of living as energy prices and mortgage repayments increase.
The growth of short-term let activity has also generated substantial direct and indirect financial benefits for the UK’s tourism sector, as well as playing a vital role in its continued recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, a report conducted with BiGGAR Economics, estimates that travel on Airbnb generated £1.8bn for England’s economy, supporting over 65,000 jobs.
Last year, Airbnb announced its Healthy Tourism Commitment for the UK to support the introduction of fair rules for short-term lets, spread tourism and its benefits in partnership with communities, and tackle noise, nuisance and issues in the community.