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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Call for Airbnb landlords to help domestic abuse victims

The Liberal Democrats want Airbnb to ensure its landlords offer free accommodation to victims and survivors of domestic abuse in Tier 3 and Tier 4 areas. 

Lib Dem councillors in at least two locations - South Cambridgeshire and Manchester - have contacted the short lets platform about the issue.

The party claims domestic violence cases reported to the police—which may be an under-reporting of the issue - were up nearly 20 per cent during the spring 2020 lockdown. 

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Almost 50 suspected killings may have occurred during that time as well, says the party.

Across England and Wales, police were forced to issue nearly 1,800 domestic violence protection notices and arrest over 64,000 suspects.

The Lib Dems have warned things are likely to get worse as much of the country gets plunged into Tier 3 and Tier 4 restrictions, especially as the end of the festive season often sees a surge in cases anyway. 

South Cambridgeshire councillor Ian Sollom has written to Airbnb in the UK asking it to offer spare accommodation to people at risk of domestic abuse.

In June, Airbnb in Ireland announced a partnership with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid to offer domestic violence survivors emergency accommodation.

Using its hotel partners and spare accommodation, Airbnb Ireland provides temporary accommodation, free of charge, when specialist emergency accommodation or refuge is not available. 

But the initiative only covers the Republic of Ireland.

Sollom says: "As well as implementing the full force of the law, we must provide refuge for people at risk of this horrific crime—they must know that they are a priority.

"Strict measures will be in place for a long time yet, and with the threat of a third national lockdown potentially … this poses an even more horrifying reality for some people. 

"But if this Covid crisis has taught us anything, it's the immense power of people coming together and supporting each other.

"The reality is that we must do all we can to make sure that anyone at risk of domestic abuse is guaranteed a safe and consistent place to stay and Airbnb can offer that. 

"That's why I've written to Airbnb here in the UK to ask them to urgently follow their Irish counterpart's brilliant initiative and offer up any free accommodation to anyone at risk of domestic abuse. I strongly urge Airbnb to take action and play its part in the Coronavirus crisis."

A spokesperson for Airbnb says: “Airbnb is committed to supporting communities around the world impacted by the ongoing pandemic and has recently launched Airbnb.org dedicated to facilitating temporary stays in times of crisis.

“This year, in the UK, the Airbnb community has provided more than 1,200 stays for NHS staff and we have supported domestic violence survivors in Ireland alongside Women’s Aid and Safe Ireland.

“We are continuing to monitor the impact of this ongoing project.”

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    I am all in 200% favour of this so long as the Lib Dems and all other political cronies who talk a lot about what others should do also put money where and what their mouth spits out!
    We have unfortunately got a public sector TOTALLY UNFIT FOR PURPOSE.
    And many an MP on nearly £90K pa plus expenses telling Jo public how they should spend their money. It would be fair and good if these dimwits take paycut to National average wage before any more mouthing!

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    I am not an Air BnB host but if I was why should I do this for free? How long would the person expect to stay and what happens if the abuser finds out where they are and trashes my house / car/ etc.

    I am all for supporting victims of abuse but this is a nonsensical idea. Surely empty hotel rooms would be a better solution. (Or Lib Dems' spare rooms!)

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    I was thinking just the same Tricia, the abuser is very likely to come round, break in and wreck our property, asking for trouble, leave these problems to the council, their responsibility and their problem.

     
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    Air B&B don’t own the properties so it’s pointless asking them. I have some myself and helped out in the last lock down for NHS staff. However I still get some bookings even in Lockdown because there are contractors classed as essential workers etc so it’s Tricky and when the properties are empty at least the utilities are low. Plus there are other issues relating to tax in that you mustn’t accommodate anyone for more than 30 days or you get classed as BTL again with the consequence of higher taxation. Sadly these days you can’t even do something good without getting hammered!

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