Continued Action on Short Lets
November 14, 2016
Since the Deregulation Act 2015, those wishing to let out their homes on a temporary basis (less than 90 days) have been able to do so without first asking the local authority for permission.
As many of you will know, these ‘short lets’ have given rise to a number of difficulties in certain areas: anti-social behaviour (ASB), noise, excessive rubbish and the sense that the population is transient, rather than a community. This is exacerbated by the difficulty in enforcing the 90-day rule, particularly when popular accommodation websites have no requirement to ensure that landlords aren’t breaching the legislation or to share information about how many days a year apartments are being used.
Mark and his Conservative colleagues on Westminster City Council have raised these concerns repeatedly and since the Bill was enacted have been lobbying central government to exempt particular communities in London on the grounds that they are already too densely populated.
Councillors Heather Acton and Antonia Cox put together a proposal to protect Bryanston & Dorset Square and Hyde Park wards from the legislation, along with 16 blocks of flats from across the rest of the Westminster borough. Towards the end of 2015, Mark secured a meeting with then Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and along with Heather and Antonia took the proposal directly to him. Unfortunately, the government did not take up the suggestion.
In the past year, Mark, Heather and Antonia have continued to flag the issues arising from short lets with the relevant authorities; notifying the local police to increase patrols to tackle noise and ASB and alerting the Council’s Environmental Health Team to increases in refuse and littering.
They continue to liaise with the Department for Communities and Local Government and most recently Heather asked London Mayor Sadiq Khan for his assistance in cracking down on landlords who abuse the 90-day rule. You can read Heather’s letter here.
If you are experiencing the negative impact of short lets, please contact your local Councillors or Mark for assistance.