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Airbnb accuses rivals of “flouting the rules” in London accommodation battle

Following the introduction of a 90-day limit for London accommodation rentals, Airbnb believes Booking.com and Tripadvisor are “ignoring the pleas” of policy makers trying to control pricing in the capital.
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Despite deciding to implement an automated housing limit in London, Airbnb says it continues to grow in the city as others in the space “flout the rules”.

In January 2017, Airbnb took the decision to limit the availability of a property in the Greater London area to 90 nights per calendar year. However, listings on Booking.com, which does not limit hosting activity, grew by 50 per cent in December 2016, Airbnb added.

In a jab at Airbnb’s rivals, James McClure, general manager for Northern Europe at the business, said: “Airbnb is the only platform that works with London to promote the rules and limit how often hosts can share their homes.

“We are proud to help Londoners share their homes responsibly and are disappointed others are failing to take similar steps to help make London stronger.”

In March 2017, London mayor Sadiq Khan wrote a letter to six online short-term letting agents, including One Fine Stay, Booking.com and Veeve, asking them to follow Airbnb’s lead and ensure short-term property rentals do not exceed 90 days a year.

Back then he said: “While Airbnb accounts for a substantial share of the short-term lettings market in London, there are many other operators, such as yours, who occupy the same space. I am keen to see a cross-industry response to this issue, to help local authorities enforce the law.”

Airbnb is headquartered in San Francisco

According to new statistics, Airbnb hosts and guests generated £3.46bn for the UK economy in 2017, with £1.4bn of that coming from London. Typically, London hosts earn £3,000 by sharing their home for 40 nights per year.

Airbnb believes there are 40,000 listings on other platforms in London that are going “completely uncapped” – with nearly 14,000 of those found on Booking.com.

McClure added: “London is strongest when it is shared. We encourage other platforms like Booking.com and TripAdvisor to step up and do the right thing so more Londoners can keep sharing the best of their communities and the city they love with the world.”

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About Author

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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