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Hostmaker defends adverts that encourage short-term lettings

Controversial short-lets managing agents Hostmaker has defended its latest advertising campaign after once again sparking outrage among some industry professionals for launching a series of ads on London's tube network urging landlords in the capital to abandon long-term lets.

Labour’s London Assembly housing spokesperson, Tom Copley, has written to the Mayor of London asking for a ban on advertisements on the tube network promoting home-sharing management firm, Hostmaker.

Copley argues that Hostmaker is encouraging landlords to break the law and flout the 90-day annual limit for short-term lettings in London. He said that allowing unscrupulous property management companies to advertise on the Transport for London (TfL) network is “sending the wrong message” when regulation should be tightened in the expanding home-sharing sector.

Under current regulations put in place under the Deregulation Act 2015, it is illegal for landlords to rent out their homes in the capital for more than 90 nights a year on short-term lets unless they obtain specific planning permission from their local council.

A recent investigation by the BBC found that Hostmaker, alongside a number of other short-term lettings management companies, are offering services to help landlords evade the 90-day limit.

In his letter to the mayor, he argues that the limit is “vital” in preventing an increasing number of London properties becoming “permanent holiday homes… at time of housing crisis in our city”.

Alongside banning advertisements from Hostmaker, Copley has called upon the mayor to go further and update TfL’s advertising policy to only allow advertisements from short-term letting management companies if they have implemented a voluntary cap to enforce the 90-day limit.

At the end of 2016, Airbnb announced their plans to voluntarily introduce a 90-day limit on ‘entire home’ listings in the Greater London area.

Copley said: “The current 90-day limit law is a vital measure that is stemming the growing tide of London properties being turned into permanent holiday homes.

“With a burgeoning housing crisis in London, it is unacceptable that unscrupulous companies, such as Hostmaker, which encourage landlords to flout the law are being allowed to advertise on the TfL network.

“This is sending the wrong message when we should be focussing on tightening regulation in the expanding home-sharing sector in the capital to prevent long-term rented housing for Londoners being lost to holiday lets for tourists.

“I hope the Mayor carefully considers the proposals in my letter for TfL to reject adverts from property management companies that have no interest in enforcing the law.”

But Hostmaker’s press office has got in touch with us to defend the way the agency works and the adverts it publishes.

Renaud Barnoin, general manager of Hostmaker London, said: “We are committed to complying with all rules and regulations in the markets we operate in and the London 90-day rule is no different.

“We provide furnished and managed housing for short, mid and long-term rental needs, and our flexible lettings solution is designed for hosts to make the most of short lets and switch to medium and long lets when the 90-day limit is reached, opening housing stock to local demand.

“In a cosmopolitan city like London, there is always going to be a need for a range of housing and rental solutions.

“We were pleased to be one of the inaugural members of the APPG for Short Lets and are committed to continuing a dialogue with all parties to ensure the needs of a diverse housing and rental market are addressed.”

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    Short term rentals are destroying some residential neighbourhoods and harming properly regulated and safe hospitality businesses. Instead of giving them tax free £7500 they should have additional commercial property taxes imposed to fund proper scrutiny of their safety and compliance with all appropriate rules, including paying the appropriate income tax , commercial mortgage , insurance and local authority rates, instead of masquerading as normal domestic dwellings.

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    more tax--r u mad??????

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    If Landlords providing homes are forced to pay more tax, why should the short term rental landlords be let off the hook, with £7500 tax free, no checks on fire safety, no "fit and proper" checks etc and potentially free from Council Tax if run as a separate small business.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    More twaddle from another criminal short -term accommodation facilitator!!
    They say they comply with regulations.......no they don't.
    The 90 day restriction is just a small part of regulation.
    What about lender permission to engage in short-term letting?
    What about freeholder permission to engage in short-term letting?
    What about correct Council Tax to be paid?
    What about correct insurance for property use?

    In short most of the short-term accommodation industry based on homes is based on FRAUD.
    Nobody seems to recognise it or even understand these issues.
    Yet they are fundamental as to whether a home may be let out on these short-term basis legally.
    A lot of this accommodation is flats.
    I don't know of a single freeholder that would give permission for any flats in their blocks to be let out as short-term accommodation.
    As far as I am aware freeholders insist on tenancy agreements no shorter than 6 months.
    It amazes me that Govt allows mass criminality by London homeowners and LL when the regulated London hospitality management industry is struggling to sell its wares.
    Very little tax is paid by those who are effectively operating as unfair competition by dint of their criminality.
    The legal market will be put out of business along with the taxes they used to pay.
    These short-term operators should not be allowed to list any property that doesn't have the necessary permissions from lenders; insurers, councils etc.
    That would remove most of the listings for a start!!

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    r u from shelter? you dont appear to prs

    Paul Barrett

    Nope am a LL that believes in fair competition.
    Much of the PRS is based on FRAUD by criminal LL.
    A criminal LL is one who lets a property to a HB tenant when their BTL mortgage terms prohibit any HB tenant being taken on as a tenant.
    A criminal LL is one who does not advise the insurer that they are letting to a HB tenant having not informed the insurer of this material fact.
    A criminal LL is one who has a residential mortgage and has not obtained CTL.
    By implication a LL letting on a resi mortgage without CTL CANNOT have the correct LL insurance as without CTL it would be a fraudulent letting.
    A criminal LL is one who lets a flat to short -term letter in contravention of the lease.
    Am I to understand that you consider these criminal LL that exist in their hundreds of thousands are not criminals!?
    They are all committing fraud.
    Now we have homeowners committing mass fraud with illegal short- term lettings.
    It is just a fact that there are millions of LL and homeowners committing mass fraud.
    As for Shelter I detest them with all my being.
    They would prefer the PRS didn't exist at all.
    I would have no issue with this if the state were capable of providing a subsidised home for everyone.
    Well we know that will never happen which is why a legal PRS will always be needed.
    I have no problem with Shelter providing information to assist tenants but I vehemently oppose their anti-LL policies like such as support for S24 and abolition of S21.
    All LL that commit fraud are unfair competition to me which Is I object to most strongly.
    Without fraudulent LL my rents could be a lot higher.
    It is fraudster LL that keep rents lower than they otherwise would be.
    And of course I haven't even mentioned the normal criminal LL that lets to illegal immigrants; overcrowds a property, has illegal HMO; doesn't declare HMO enhanced facilities which would require Individual Council Tax Banding etc etc

     
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    Can't argue with that.

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