Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

UK government gives AirBnB free rein in London

Ministers to abolish decades-old property laws

Article comments

Ministers are about to slash laws that have prevented homeowners in London from legally renting out their properties to visitors via platforms like America’s AirBnB and the Britain’s OneFineStay.

The laws, which date back to the 1970s and ban short-term rentals in the capital, will be quashed by communities secretary Eric Pickles today.

Prior to today, Londoners wishing to rent out their homes for less than three months had to apply for planning permission from the council or risk up to a £20,000 fine.

“The internet is changing the way we work and live, and the law needs to catch up. We have already reformed the rules on renting out your unused parking spaces, now we want to do the same regarding renting out your home for a short period,” said Pickles.

Since launching in 2008 in California, AirBnB has disrupted the accommodation market by providing a trusted community marketplace for people to list and book accommodation around the world, online or through a mobile phone. It includes many unique properties, including over 600 castles.

The spotlight was shone on AirBnB during the 2012 London Olympics when its usage grew as Londoners rented spare rooms to tourists.

“It’s time to change the outdated, impractical and restrictive laws from the 1970s, open up London’s homes to visitors and allow Londoners to make some extra cash,” added Pickles.

AirBnB, which achieved a $10 billion (£6 billion) valuation in April following a $450 million (£267 million) funding round, is facing legal questions in a number of cities, including its home town of San Francisco and New York.

Several other apps and websites have aimed to replicate AirBnB’s model of renting out unused homes, bedrooms and driveways.

The reforms to home rental rules are set to be outlined in the upcoming Deregulation Bill.

Hotels around the world have been quick to highlight AirBnB's illegality, largely because the start-up is taking their customers and eating into their revenues. 

Disruptive apps in other fields include online food delivery service and taxi app Uber, with London's black cab drivers set to protest against the latter this Wednesday by causing grid-lock on the capital's streets. 


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *