Citing a substantial increase in Airbnb listings, UK government agencies Wednesday issued an “open call for evidence” about the impact of short-term rentals, and floated remedies such as physical inspections of properties and a registration requirement.
The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, as well as two MPs stated that the call for evidence would last 12 weeks. The announcement cited a 33 percent increase in Airbnb’s UK listings in the 2017-2018 period.
The aim is to improve the lives of people living in tourism destinations, and to understand the impact on housing, among other goals. the announcement said.
The announcement stated:
“The scheme, proposed in a new government review looking at the impact of increases in short-term and holiday lets in England, could involve physical checks of premises to ensure regulations in areas including health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed.
“Further measures the Government is considering include a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme with spot checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety, a self-certification scheme for hosts to register with before they can operate, and better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers.”
Reacting to the announcement, Merilee Karr, chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association and CEO of UnderTheDoormat, urged the government to distinguish between short-term rentals that hosts live in and those that are investment properties.
Karr said her association has previously called for a national registration plan as a precursor to collecting data and to develop any policies. She said short-term rentals “play a vital role in the English tourism economy, contributing to local jobs and businesses, providing a vital income stream for many individuals and families at this time of rising cost of living.”