In late 2016, Airbnb announced a major change to its platform. From early 2017, a 90-day annual limit was introduced across the Greater London area. This means that ‘entire home’ listings in London cannot be rented out for more than 90 days per calendar year without express permission from the relevant London borough council in the form of a planning permit. If you are a short-term rental owner with properties in London, this means that guests can only stay in your properties for a maximum of 90 days a year.

Owners who breach the regulations by going over the 90-day limit without a planning permit risk being forced to cease their activities. What’s more, they could also be subject to a hefty £20,000 fine.

Where did the 90-day limit come from?

The 90-day limit was originally introduced as a result of the Deregulation Act 2015, which relaxed previously tight restrictions on short-term letting in Greater London. However, it was becoming clear that despite the Act being in place, the rules were being flouted on a fairly widespread basis. The Guardian reported that from 2015 to 2016, up to a quarter of London ‘entire home’ listings on Airbnb were being rented for more than the 90 days specified by the Act. [1]

Why has Airbnb got involved?

According to recent research from Wired UK, Airbnb is about to hit 1 million rentals in London and continues to grow at an exponential rate. [2] Nearly 20,000 new rentals are added to the platform every week, placing serious pressure on the residential property sector. With more and more homes now being used as short-term rentals, London’s permanent housing supply is in crisis, with fears that Londoners are being priced out of the property market altogether.

Airbnb introduced the 90-day limit to make sure that hosts in London let their properties in accordance with the legislation. In a statement on its website Airbnb says:

“We want to help ensure that home sharing grows responsibly and sustainably, and makes London’s communities stronger. This announcement follows an unprecedented six-month project with partners across London to investigate how we can deliver the commitments that our platform is promoting responsible home sharing and remove unwelcome commercial operators.”

What specific changes has Airbnb made?

For ‘entire home’ listings in London, these now show a ‘nights booked’ counter to help owners see how many nights have already been booked, and how many remain within the 90-day limit. Once the limit is reached, Airbnb automatically closes the property calendar for the rest of the dates in that year. The counter refreshes at the beginning of each year. Airbnb has published guidance and FAQs for London property owners on how the 90-day limit works in practice.

Did this answer your question?