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Airbnb and UK STAA respond to government plans

Mixed response to UK plans for short-term rentals industry

The UK government is planning to introduce a short-term lets registration scheme in England and potentially require properties entering the vacation rentals space to apply for planning permission.

Airbnb has welcomed the move to introduce a registration scheme, saying it has long led calls for a solution in order to increase transparency and give local authorities the information they need to enforce rules that clampdown on speculators and protect people aiming to earn additional income by renting out a room in their own home.

The UK Short-Term Accommodation Association (STAA) also welcomed news of the registration scheme – but Andrew Fenner, STAA's Chief Executive, suggested the plan didn't go far enough.

“The registration scheme could have been game changing for tourism in England had it covered all types of accommodation but, instead, what we’ve got is a missed opportunity that’s a halfway house at best," said Mr Fenner. "The presumption is, that if you shut down all short-term rentals tomorrow, the housing crisis would be solved – but that is naive in the extreme."

Airbnb also said it recognised the UK is facing historic housing challenges but that short-term rentals were not the root cause of the problem.

Airbnb also outlined the benefits of short-term rentals to people and communities, saying travel on the platform alone boosted the UK economy by £2.9 billion between December 2022 and October 2023 and supported more than 100,000 jobs. It said the typical British host earned £5,500 a year – money which is helping them keep up with rising living costs and – for some – allowing them to afford to stay in their own homes.

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