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Hostmaker, Airbnb and the 90-day rule in London for short term lets

View from Jessica's home in London of Canary Wharf
    • Short term lettings in Great London are now limited to 90 nights per calendar year

    • This is to comply with new laws enacted in 2015 to help landlords legally rent their home out to guests, as well as regulate the sharing economy

  • The expertise of Hostmaker in flexible lettings helps homeowners and landlords to work legally, safely, and profitably

If you are living in London and thinking about opening your home to guests on short term lettings platforms such as Airbnb, you may have come across the ‘90-day rule’. Whether you are just getting started, or have already done some research, the ‘90-day rule’ can be tricky to understand.

Don’t worry, we are here to help. At Hostmaker, we are reinventing lettings for thousands of landlords by offering a flexible lettings solution in London (and Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Rome… and many more!).

So, what is the 90-day rule in London, how can it impact landlords and homeowners, and what to do about it?

What is the 90-day rule?

In January 2017, to comply with the newest regulations, Airbnb started to automatically limit the availability of ‘entire home’ listings in the Greater London area to 90 nights per calendar year. Other short let platforms such as Booking.com orTripAdvisor have implemented it differently, by presenting listing owners with the appropriate warnings.

Simply put, if you list an entire home on a short let platform such as Airbnb or HomeAway, you can only have guests stay for a maximum of 90 nights per calendar year.

Now:

  • Your home can be listed for longer than 90 days (as you’re unlikely to get a reservation right away), but guests can only stay for a maximum of 90 days,
  • A calendar year means the whole of 2018, or the whole of 2019 for instance,
  • Airbnb has a handy ‘nights booked’ counter so that you can see how many nights you have left,
  • Once you have reached your limit, Airbnb will automatically close your calendar for the rest of the dates in that year,
  • Your listing can still be open for the next calendar year, and guests will be able to book these dates.

Why has this come about?

The new regulation actually makes short term letting easier, rather than harder. It clarifies the legal framework, and update existing regulations to allow for short-term lets without usage update. 

Let us explain.

Restrictions on short-term lets in London have in fact been around since the 1970’s. Homeowners letting their home for a period less than 90 days used to require specific planning consent from their local councils. However, as platforms such as Airbnb grew in popularity, and with them brought a whole host of benefits for the city, for visiting guests and for its homeowners.

This meant that there was a high demand for a service that was unfortunately in breach of the then-current regulatory laws in place. As a result, the government decided to update the homesharing regulations, and in May 2015 brought in the Deregulation Act.

The Deregulation Act allows homeowners in London to rent their home to guests on a short-term basis for up to 90 days per calendar year without having to change their planning permission. If a homeowner wishes to rent their home using shortlets for more than 90 days, they must now apply for the relevant planning permission.

Previously, Airbnb had not put in measures to ensure that London hosts had been following these regulations, leaving the responsibility in the hands of the hosts. However in late 2016, after a 6-month long process (in collaboration with experts and partners across the city), Airbnb announced their measures to make sure that hosts on Airbnb were operating in accordance to the new legislation. Hence, the 90 day limit.

For more information on the Deregulation Act and why Airbnb has applied this 90 day rule, see here.

How can Hostmaker help me to be compliant and continue to let my property?

At Hostmaker, we’re helping landlords in more than 9 cities to be compliant with local regulations, while making the most of the short-term let opportunity. 

We’ve always worked closely with short term lets platforms and local councils to explain what we do, and how we help to bring travellers to lesser-knowns parts of the city, while allowing new segments of the population to access property ownership.

We believe that only this way will we be able to contribute to the positive, ongoing growth of the sharing economy and the online short-letting community.

To balance maximised rental income and local regulations, we offer flexible lettings, which mix short, medium and long-term lets. When it makes the most sense, we will list the property on short-term lettings platforms like Airbnb, and when the limit is reached, we switch to medium-term lettings or long-term lettings.

Our partner platforms thus include Zoopla and Rightmove on top of Airbnb or HomeAway. As a result, we help landlords to attract the right guest or tenant, at the right time, for the best price.

Using the data from our past efforts, we are therefore able to competitively price your home according to demand and supply for medium-term lets. Hostmaker is also registered with the deposit protection agency, meaning we can safely take deposits for your home from a variety of platforms.

In short: our expertise will help you keep within the lines, protect your home, and fill up your pockets at the same time. So why not let Hostmaker help you put your home to work?

More questions about the 90-day rule, London short-term lettings or regulations in one of our cities? Feel free to get in touch at london@hostmaker.co or directly on our website!

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