The Residential Landlords Association, (RLA) Generation Rent and Labour’s London Assembly Spokesman have all called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to remove tube adverts encouraging landlords to turn to short-term lets and shun long-term tenants. The RLA and others, labelled the adverts ‘toxic’, particularly at a time when London remains locked in the throes of a housing crisis.
Labour London Assembly Spokesman, Tom Copley wrote a letter to Mayor Khan asking him to ban adverts from home-sharing management firm, Hostmaker. The business, which works to help home-owners rent their properties out on a short-term basis in a similar way to AirBNB, has numerous adverts up on London’s tube trains.
Hostmaker to remove Tube Train adverts
There are strict rules in place stating that London homes are only available for short-term lettings for a maximum of 90 nights per calendar year. AirBNB has made it clear that it would work with its users to ensure they adhere to the rules.
However, according to numerous reports, Hostmaker all but encourages home-owners and landlords to flout those short-term let rules.
“With a burgeoning housing crisis in London, it is unacceptable that unscrupulous companies, such as Hostmaker, which encourage landlords to flout the law are being allowed to advertise on the TfL network,” wrote Labour’s Tom Copley to the Mayor of London.
“This is sending the wrong message when we should be focussing on tightening regulation in the expanding home-sharing sector in the capital to prevent long-term rented housing for Londoners being lost to holiday lets for tourists,” Copley added.
Following this letter and other comments from the RLA and Generation Rent, Hostmaker has said it plans to remove its tube train adverts promoting its business and suggesting it can help home-owners evade short-let rules.
“We are sorry for the concern caused by our recent ad campaign and we acknowledge the tone was misguided,” said Hostmaker CEO, Nakul Sharma. “The adverts will be coming down this weekend and we will be reviewing all future creatives with our partners.”
However, Sharma added that as a global city, London still required “a range of housing and rental solutions”. He also said that affordable housing stock was not among its high-end portfolio.
London’s landlords still searching for profitable rents
While Hostmaker’s removal of its Tube train adverts may be one victory, research continues to suggest that the growth of the short-term lettings market has helped to push rents up, in the English capital and elsewhere. According to the RLA, listing on AirBNB grew 60% in London in 2017.
In addition, for those seeking to ensure there are enough homes for those long-term renters who need them, the introduction of the Tenant Fees Ban will likely encourage landlords to continue searching for ways to ensure their PRS investments prove profitable.
The RLA has been among those calling for reform without the removal of fees, charges and rules that, when managed fairly, ensure the UK’s PRS sector works both for tenants and landlords. However, while the tenant fees ban is likely here to stay, the removal of the offending Hostmaker ads is a small victory for London’s PRS, landlords and tenants.