Airbnb expansion in UK is ‘out of control’, politician warns

The expansion of short-term accommodation platforms such as Airbnb has been labelled “out of control”.

Some parts of the UK have such high concentrations of short-term lets that the ratio of Airbnb listings to houses is more than 20 times the national average, according to research by the Guardian.

It suggests that some areas of the UK have one Airbnb listing for every four properties.

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For example, Edinburgh Old Town has 29 Airbnb listings per 100 properties, while the island of Skye had 25 listings per 100. 

Its research also found high concentrations of Airbnb listings in Wollacombe, Georgeham and Croyde in Devon, which had 23 listings per 100 properties.

To come up with the research, the Guardian cross-referenced 250,000 listings on Airbnb with government housing figures. Across the UK as a whole, it found there were 0.8 listings for every 100 homes on average.

Cities including Paris, Barcelona and Berlin have taken measures to restrict the number of Airbnb rentals each year. In January, the Scottish government announced a crackdown on short-term holiday lets.

Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman told the Guardian: “The growth in short-term lets is out of control in Edinburgh and of increasing concern across Scotland,” adding that Airbnb was only part of the problem.

An Airbnb spokesperson told The Independent that “This data is wrong and the methodology is flawed.”

Patrick Robinson, director of public policy at Airbnb, said: “It assumes that every listing on Airbnb – including hotel rooms, B+Bs and rooms in homes – is an entire home, which is untrue. Nearly half of entire home listings on Airbnb are rented for less than 30 nights a year and more than half of all hosts say they rely on the additional income to help afford their home. 

“Airbnb is a good partner to cities and we were the first platform limit how often hosts in London can share their homes. We are also working with cities across the UK on proposals for a host registration system that we will proactively put to the government later this year to help ensure that rules work for everyone.”

The home-sharing platform will present a white paper on its proposals for a host registration system later this year.


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