Proposed rules for Airbnb-style rentals in London to be unveiled soon

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New rules are on the horizon for homes and rooms rented out in London through websites like Airbnb, years after the regulations were first proposed.

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Early next month, city politicians will consider options to allow so-called short-term rentals, which is how city hall describes pseudo-hotels and homes for rent on websites such as Airbnb, Vacation Rental by Owner (Vrbo), Homeaway and even Kijiji.

“It has to be at the level playing land with the brick and mortar businesses we already have have in the City,” Ward 2 Coun. said Shawn Lewis. “Tthis means introducing some sort of regulation of Airbnb.”

There are 600 active short-term rentals in London, and they are occupied on average two-thirds of the time, with higher usage in the summer months. They rent for an average of $120 per night or $1,200 per month.

Regulating these rentals serves two purposes: to keep tabs on problematic rentals such as party homes in quiet neighborhoods, and to try to prevent homes from going off the market and being used instead as an alternative to hotels.

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“IIt’s not just a room, a basement, or even a house whose owner is out of town for a week. Alnot of these are buildings that function as without license hotels. They do not pay the municipal accommodation tax (hotel tax), they do not do have business licensesand they don’t haveand rent unit licenses,” Lewis said.

Two years ago, the board asked staff to come back with draft rules. They should be made public soon. The proposed rules include a new category of business license, according to a staff presentation for a citizens’ advisory committee.

Lewis said there is also potential for a dual system, with just a rental unit license, rather than a business license, required for landlords who rent out their own home or part of it temporarily, per example, during their holidays.

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Personally, I think going to both-at several levels approach makes a lot of sense, and we should treat owner-operators who treat this as a occasional different income supplement to those who use the properties purely as a business investment,” he said.

There is hope that the regulations could help turn a few units rented on Airbnb or similar platforms into typical long-term rental homes, or at least make them a more attractive option for landlords and landlords struggling to their options in the future.

Sixty-eight per cent of short-term rentals in London offer whole homes, the remaining 32 per cent are private rooms, according to City Hall statistics.

With the vast affordable housing crisis in London. . . if these (units) are rented, it means that there is less (long-term) rental units” overall, said Mike Laliberte, attorney and staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services.

Airbnb is just another factor that adds to the stressors.

The regulations added by Laliberte may have the added benefit of controlling party rentals. “Once in a while these things go off the rails,” he said.

It is also favorable to short-term rentals paying the hotel tax.

Most business licenses in London have annual fees between $50 and $500. Applying for a permit to rent a long-term home costs $165, plus a $171 fire inspection, with a $55 renewal fee.

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