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Short-term lets should be regulated

The fast-growing short-term lettings market could benefit from regulation, lettings payment provider PayProp has argued.

There were over 77,000 short lets listed on Airbnb in London alone in April 2019, and over 10,000 in Edinburgh.

Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp UK, said: “The fast growth of this market shows there is a clear appetite for this type of accommodation, but short lets could benefit from regulation in order for the sector to be sustainable.

“There is currently no mandatory regulation of short lets, which is concerning when you consider that landlords now have to comply with 156 regulations to let a property long-term – a rise of 32% in just nine years, according to the Residential Landlords Association”

The extent of illegal sub-letting via short-term lets websites was exposed on BBC One’s Inside Out programme.

One property shown on the documentary was listed as a single dwelling and as two separate bedroom rooms, while there were more than 70 booking reviews for the property on Airbnb.

In response to some of the negative press around the short-term lets market, a new industry-specific trade body was launched, The Professional Host Alliance.

Cobbold added: “The launch of a trade body for short-lets firms is welcome and hopefully it can build momentum by signing up some of the industry’s biggest names.

“Introducing more rules for short-term let landlords and agents to follow, as well as minimum standards for hosts to meet, could represent the next steps of progress.

“Managing short-lets undoubtedly provides letting agencies with a huge opportunity, but there need to be more parallels with traditional private rentals for this new revenue stream to be ultimately safe and successful.”