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The Party’s Over for Airbnb

The Party’s Over for Airbnb

Airbnb says that its so-called ‘party ban’ – introduced in 2020 at the height of the pandemic – is being made permanent.

The platform claims that there’s been a 63 per cent drop in reports of parties in Airbnb host homes the UK since the temporary ban.

Airbnb says it believes the ban has worked to reduce violence, rules violations and health concerns, with worldwide reports of parties at listed properties having dropped 44 per cent and over 6,600 guests suspended last year for staging parties in contravention of rules.

“The ban has been well received by our host community and we’ve received positive feedback from community leaders and elected officials. As we build on this momentum, we believe the time is right to codify this policy” says a statement from Airbnb.

However, at the same time as making the ban permanent Airbnb has scrapped its maximum number of occupants, which was previously 16.

This is apparently “based on feedback from a number of hosts who have listings that can house above 16 people comfortably.”

“Today’s announcement makes clear that there is no place for disruptive parties on Airbnb” says Amanda Cupples, general manager for northern Europe at Airbnb

She continues: “Since being introduced, the ban has led to a reduction in reported incidents and helped minimise the impact of noise and nuisance issues on communities. In the rare event of an issue, our Neighbourhood Support Line allows anyone with concerns in the community to contact someone at Airbnb directly so we can fully investigate.”

Meanwhile the Westminster government is launching a review into short lets in England.

Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston says: “We’ve seen huge growth in the range of holiday accommodation available over the last few years. We want to reap the benefits of the boom in short-term holiday lets while protecting community interests and making sure England has high-quality tourist accommodation.”

And housing minister Stuart Andrew adds: “Holiday let sites like Airbnb have helped boost tourism across the country, but we need to make sure this doesn’t drive residents out of their communities.

“We are already taking action to tackle the issue of second and empty homes in some areas by empowering councils to charge up to double the rate of council tax.

“This review will give us a better understanding of how short term lets are affecting housing supply locally to make sure the tourism sector works for both residents and visitors alike.”

The government says Airbnb listing data shows a 33 per cent increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018 and the rise in the use of online platforms for short-term letting has brought many benefits – from an increase in the variety and availability of options to allowing people to make money from renting out spare rooms and properties.

But the government says it understands there can be an impact on housing supply and price in these areas and there are fears caused by evidence of a rise in anti-social behaviour including noise, waste and drunken behaviour in local communities. Lower protections for guests caused by negligence of health and safety regulations are also amidst concerns.

The review will also consider the operation of the provisions in London under the Deregulation Act 2015 to allow for measures to be taken against anti-social behaviour, whilst allowing Londoners to let out their homes.

The Westminster government’s review brings England in line with the devolved administrations.

The Scottish government set out legislation requiring all local authorities in the country to establish a licensing scheme by October 2022. In Northern Ireland tourist accommodation cannot be provided without a valid certificate issued by the national tourist board. And Wales has stated its ambition to establish a statutory registration or licensing scheme.

Merilee Karr – who chairs the Short Term Accommodation Association – says: “Short term and holiday rentals play an increasingly important role in the English tourism economy by contributing significant numbers of jobs in local communities and generating valuable sources of income for local homeowners and businesses.

“Any new regulatory solution should recognise this contribution and seek to support the industry as an important part of the wider UK tourism sector.”

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Ban On Charging Ground Rent On Leases Comes Into Force

Ban On Charging Ground Rent On Leases Comes Into Force

The government’s ban on charging ground rent on new leases in England and Wales comes into force today.

Starting June 30, anyone buying a home on a new long lease will now be freed from these annual costs.

Landlords are banned from charging ground rent to leaseholders, under a new law that the government hopes will lead to fairer, more transparent homeownership for thousands of homebuyers, helping to level up opportunities for more people.

In preparation, many landlords had already reduced ground rent to zero for homebuyers starting a new lease with them.

Leasehold minister Lord Stephen Greenhalgh said: “This is an important milestone in our work to fix the leasehold system and to level up home ownership.

“Abolishing these unreasonable costs will make the dream of home ownership a more affordable reality for the next generation of home buyers.”

Future measures, announced last year, include a new right for leaseholders to extend their leases to 990 years at zero ground rent and an online calculator to help leaseholders find out how much it would cost to buy their freehold or extend their lease.

Commenting on the changes, CILEX (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) head of policy, Jonathan Walker, said: “The ban on ground rents is positive news for anyone considering buying a leasehold property and important progress towards ensuring safety and security for all householders.

“Problems still remain however, and it is disappointing that there is no retrospective inclusion of current leasehold tenants within the Act. They will still be obliged to pay their existing rents, even in cases where they are seeing those rents escalate – some doubling every ten years. Those attempting to sell on properties will find ground rents prove unattractive to buyers who now have the option of purchasing a rent-free leasehold property, and many will experience difficulties when looking to remortgage, or extend or vary their existing leasehold.

“Such fundamental changes to the leasehold market must be implemented alongside awareness raising and education amongst both consumers and professionals so that both understand the implications for property transactions.

“It is vital that we see a continued programme of reform that benefits those who are new to the leasehold market whilst not disadvantaging or restricting those currently within the system. We hope to see further measures to address residential leasehold houses and cap ground rent for all existing leasehold properties.”

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Cost-Of-Living Crisis Still Taking Centre Stage as UK Borrowing Drops

Cost-Of-Living Crisis Still Taking Centre Stage as UK Borrowing Drops

Investors are getting set for another twist on the rollercoaster with Monday’s gains set to be largely erased after Snap interrupted the brief rally with a very downbeat snapshot.

The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 have opened 0.9% lower while in Japan the Nikkei slid by 1% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped by 2%.

The owner of Snapchat notched up fresh worries after the bell on Wall Street by lowering its revenue and profits forecasts for June and blaming the rapidly weakening economic environment.

That sent the stock into a tailspin, falling more than 30% in after-hours trading, pulling down other battered tech stocks with it, with Meta falling 7% and Pinterest by 11%.

Worries are mounting that advertising will be a big casualty as companies try and deal with squeezed budgets as input costs rise dramatically and the concern is that campaigns and budgets will be scaled back.

With the era of cheap money hurtling to an end the focus will be on a speech from Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve later, with investors keen to glean any new titbit of information about just how far and fast the US central bank will go in raising rates and offloading its mass bond holdings.

In the UK, the cost-of-living crisis is still taking centre stage with clamour ratcheting up for support for the poorest households, as the Bank of England prepares borrowers to expect more interest rate rises as it attempts to keep a lid on rampant inflation.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the finance minister, has been given more wriggle room to take action with public borrowing coming in lower than expected at £18.6 billion in April.

Tax receipts piled up higher than forecast partly due to the increase in National Insurance contributions during the month, which added to the household budget squeeze.

However, the Treasury will be concerned that this may be a short term gain and there could be long term pain coming as the economy contracts, so ministers are unlikely to start splashing the cash, instead the purse strings are likely to loosen for small targeted support schemes.

The pound has pushed up higher against the dollar, up to $1.259, with sterling continuing to recover from the multi-year low it hit a fortnight ago as expectation mounts about a steeper path of interest rates.

As concerns mount over the fragility of the economies around the world, the oil price has slipped back, pulled down by ongoing worries about how detrimental China’s zero-covid policy will continue to be in terms of demand.

But supplies are tight and that’s still keeping the price of a barrel of Brent crude elevated at around $112.

A Russian oil embargo is still being pushed forward by EU nations and the head of Saudi Aramco has cautioned that a major supply crunch could be looming.

The wariness among energy firms about investing in fossil fuels as pressure mounts for the transition to greener energy appears to be acting as a cap on money flowing into production, and will be a lingering inflationary pressure which consumers, companies and policymakers will keep having to grapple with.