Airbnb rentals can be dangerous, warn MPs | Airbnb

More and more professional vacation rental companies are evading regulation by using Airbnb and other sites, putting holidaymakers at risk, will warn MPs this week.

While hotels and B&Bs are subject to fire safety regulations and other controls, owners don’t have to prove their properties are safe before renting them out through vacation rental websites. such as Airbnb.

A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality, to be released this week, will reveal evidence that large numbers of businesses are using these holiday rental platforms, which do not impose checks.

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

Yet local authorities and firefighters are unaware of the location of many of these properties, according to Gordon Marsden, chairman of the caucus group.

‘There’s a picture that there are lots of happy, cheerful people with a spare room 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 reservations in buildings. That is problematic.

Marsden said deputies had received evidence that a large number of hosts had multiple listings on Airbnb and other platforms. “They have a number of different properties in their hands and a lot of them are often in high towers,” he said. “This suggests that sharing economy platforms are increasingly being used to develop tourist accommodation businesses rather than simply renting out a room on a piecemeal basis.

“Unfortunately issues like the Grenfell Inquiry have highlighted the potential dangers in the big blocks, in terms of safety and security, and in particular not knowing who is there.”

Last year, Britons took 59.1 million holidays 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 – cities seeing 30%.

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

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

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

The British government has not seriously looked into the matter, leaving local authorities to negotiate with holiday rental sites. “There has been no substantive, independent or government-commissioned response to this, just a series of ad hoc comments,” Marsden said. “We are right to look at the economic possibilities, but that does not replace legislation or the government’s responsibility to take an unbiased look at the pros and cons.”

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