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News from Tom Copley: TfL clamps down on unscrupulous short-term lets adverts

17 September 2019

TfL’s clamp down on adverts encouraging landlords to flout short-term lets laws is “hugely positive” – Tom Copley AM

 

Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, has welcomed new advertising guidelines published by Transport for London (TfL) which ban adverts on its network that promote the contravention of planning laws. This follows on from a letter sent by Mr Copley to the Mayor of London in May, urging him to block adverts from short-term lettings company Hostmaker which encouraged landlords to flout the 90-day annual limit for short-term lettings in London.

 

TfL’s new guidelines set out wide-ranging criteria that advertising campaigns aimed at promoting short-term lettings schemes and companies on its network will now be assessed against.

 

The guidelines specify that indicators of problematic advertising content might include “references to holiday lets which do not appear to be limited in time, ambiguity about the type of letting, and suggestions of increased returns from non-standard lettings”.

 

Under current regulations introduced 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 as 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 landlords which can help them evade the 90-day limit.

 

In January 2018, Mr Copley published a report, More BnB: Short-term Lets in London's Housing Crisis, proposing several recommendations aimed at strengthening regulation and enforcement measures in the home-sharing sector.

 

In April, the Mayor called upon the Government to introduce a short-term letting registration system in the capital.

 

Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

 

“In recent months, we have seen adverts across the TfL network encouraging landlords to flout the law when it comes to short term lets.

 

“In the midst of our housing crisis and with rents rising, this has been sending the wrong message to beleaguered Londoners living in a largely unfair and unforgiving private rented sector in urgent need of reform.

 

“The 90-day limit law on short-term lets offers the only current means of protection against the rising tide of properties in the capital being turned into permanent holiday homes, though it is incredibly difficult for local authorities to enforce.

 

It is hugely positive to see TfL take action on the back of concerns that I previously raised along with Generation Rent towards these adverts. However, it should be stressed that this move marks just one of the ways that we can strengthen regulation in the ever-growing home sharing sector to defend our long-term rented housing stock”.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • A copy of the new TfL advertising guidance can be found here;

 

  • A copy of Tom Copley AM’s letter to the Mayor of London regarding Hostmaker adverts on the TfL network from May 2019, can be found attached;

 

  • 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;

 

  • An investigation by the BBC in February found that Hostmaker, alongside a number of other short-term lettings management companies, are offering services to help landlords evade the 90-day limit;

 

  • Last month, the Mayor called upon the Government to introduce a short-term letting registration system in the capital;

 

  • Tom Copley AM’s report, More BnB: Short-term Lets in London's Housing Crisis can be read here;

 

  • Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member.

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