Airbnb Rentals Can Be Dangerous, MPs Warn | Airbnb

A growing number of professional vacation rental companies are hiding from regulation using Airbnb and other sites, putting vacationers at risk, MPs will warn this week.

While hotels and bed and breakfasts are subject to fire safety regulations and other controls, landlords do not have to prove their properties are safe before renting them through rental sites. vacations such as Airbnb.

A report by the all-party parliamentary group on tourism, recreation and hospitality, to be released this week, will reveal evidence that a large number of companies are using these vacation rental platforms, which do not apply controls.

Last week, a study by the accounting firm Moore Stephens revealed there are 64,000 properties listed on Airbnb in London, compared to 197,970 hotel rooms, with similar proportions in Brighton and Bristol.

Yet local authorities and firefighters do not know the location of many of these properties, according to Gordon Marsden, chairman of the parliamentary group.

“There is a picture that this is a lot of happy, cheerful people with a free coin trying to make some money,” the MP for Blackpool said. “It’s true, but it’s also true that there seem to be systematic attempts to block-book buildings. That is problematic.

Marsden said MPs had received evidence that a large number of hosts had multiple listings on Airbnb and other platforms. “They own a number of different properties and a lot of them are often in big towers,” he said. “This suggests that sharing economy platforms are increasingly being used to develop tourist accommodation businesses rather than just renting a room on an ad hoc basis.

“Unfortunately, issues like the Grenfell Inquiry have shed light on what the potential dangers could be in large blocs, in terms of safety and security, and in particular not knowing who is in there.”

Last year, Britons took 59.1 million vacations in the UK, a 6% increase fueled in part by growth in readily available accommodation. The seaside is the most popular destination – 35% of trips – with 30% of cities.

“Outside of London, before 2000 it wasn’t a big deal, but now we have cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh which attract a substantial number of domestic and international visitors who want to take advantage of the sharing platform. “said Marsden. . “In many of these places, other than the top hotels, they are probably filling an unmet need. “

Although Airbnb is popular with its customers, it has been criticized in several ways. Some have complained that cities are losing tens of thousands of homes for residents, putting additional pressure on the housing market.

Other countries are adopting increasingly aggressive approaches. In Spain, the authorities in Palma de Mallorca voted in April exclude most short term rentals of private homes.

The UK government did not take the issue seriously, leaving local authorities to negotiate with vacation rental sites. “There has been no substantial, independent or government-ordered response to this, just a series of ad hoc comments,” Marsden said. “We are right to examine the economic possibilities, but it is not a substitute in terms of legislation or the government’s responsibility to take an impartial look at the pros and cons.”

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