Airbnb now a third of the size of the hotel sector in London

Airbnb listings now equal roughly a third (32%) of the size of the hotel sector in London, with 64,000 Airbnb listed properties in the capital competing with 197,970 hotel rooms.

Analysis by accounting and advisory firm Moore Stephens has also shown that Airbnb listings now represent 30% of the size of formal hotel and bed and breakfast rooms in Brighton as well.

According to the group concerns have been raised that Airbnb is “taking advantage of an uneven playing field”, in order to gain market share from the the hotel and bed and breakfast sector in London and across the UK.

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Common complaints that property owners renting out their rooms through Airbnb include businesses:

  • Not paying business rates
  • Not paying VAT
  • Often have lower health and safety standards than hotels – or fail to adhere to formal health and safety standards
  • Are often in breach of planning regulations that put the legality of their use as holiday accommodation in doubt
  • Are unlikely to be advising their insurers about change in use and the additional risks involved
  • Creating problems including security issues for other residents in residential blocks as many residential properties do not have the kind of sound proofing

Some cities around the world have already introduced stricter regulations on Airbnb listings. Hosts must now:

  • Be full-time residents and can only rent their property for 90 days in San Francisco.
  • Pay an annual fee for a tourist licence in Barcelona.
  • Obtain a general permit from their borough in Berlin and could face a maximum penalty of up to €500,000 (£441,375) for breaking any regulation.

Peter Duffy, director at Moore Stephens, said: “Airbnb is increasingly taking market share from hotels. Hotel groups say this because Airbnb can bypass industry regulations allowing it to undercut the formal industry. Everyone would welcome Airbnb being more transparent. More statistics are needed so that the impact of Airbnb, positive or otherwise, can be properly debated.

“Airbnb and other similar platforms can offer significant benefits to individuals, for those renting their property out and holidaymakers.”

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