Southwark Council is cracking down on short-term lets of properties through sites like Airbnb by sending warning letters to all its leaseholders, writes Becky Morton…
The council plans to send leaflets warning tenants and leaseholders of council-owned houses that renting out their homes on any short-term holiday let websites breaches the conditions of their lease and could result in legal action.
The leaflets emphasise that leases include conditions that homes should not be used “for any purpose other than as a private dwelling house”.
Council tenants will be sent similar leaflets with their rent statements, but the council has clarified lodgers are allowed with written permission.
The 2015 Deregulation Act amended existing legislation to allow short-term letting of London homes for a maximum of 90 days a year.
Previously Londoners wishing to rent out their homes for short periods needed to obtain planning permission.
Following the 2015 Act, Southwark saw an 139% increase in the number of short-term lettings advertised on Airbnb, according to figures from Westminster Council.
This year Airbnb limited home listings in Greater London to 90 nights a year, in line with the new legislation.
Cllr Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing, said: “We are aware that a growing number of leaseholders are letting their properties, on a short-term basis, through platforms including but not exclusive to Airbnb, Housetrip and Gumtree.
“As far as we are concerned our homes are homes, not hotels. We want people in our council homes and on our council estates who are a part of the community, not visitors passing through.
“In addition, noise nuisance, over-occupation and damage to communal areas can all result from the use of properties as short term lets and this can be damaging to local communities.
“We welcome visitors to our borough and we are aware there are circumstances where short-term lets are appropriate, but with a growing demand for council homes we cannot tolerate the use of our properties as short term lets.”