REPORT

The Short-term Lets Registration White Paper

Airbnb has consulted with towns, cities, communities, policymakers, businesses and Hosts on Airbnb from every corner of the country to better understand the impact of short-term letting activity and local regulations in the United Kingdom.

Based on the findings, local communities as well as Airbnb are calling for the UK Government to introduce a simple nationwide registration system for the short-term letting sector.

As local tourism begins to recover across the UK, we believe this is an important step to help communities rebuild sustainably.

A registration system will increase transparency for communities, hosts and guests - create more visibility of those breaking the rules and allows platforms like Airbnb to take actions that support communities.

The vision for the registration system and the policy aims are set out in this Short-term Lets Registration White Paper.

Airbnb has consulted with towns, cities, communities, policymakers, businesses and Hosts on Airbnb from every corner of the country to better understand the impact of short-term letting activity and local regulations in the United Kingdom.

Based on the findings, local communities as well as Airbnb are calling for the UK Government to introduce a simple nationwide registration system for the short-term letting sector.

As local tourism begins to recover across the UK, we believe this is an important step to help communities rebuild sustainably.

A registration system will increase transparency for communities, hosts and guests - create more visibility of those breaking the rules and allows platforms like Airbnb to take actions that support communities.

The vision for the registration system and the policy aims are set out in this Short-term Lets Registration White Paper.

Professor Marina Novelli (PhD), University of Brighton, said:

“This was an important process in line with Airbnb’s desire to develop their relationships with local communities and work with government, policy makers and city leaders to develop a sector-wide host registration system that is accessible and effective for all. It is vital we get this right as it will provide a key foundation for a stronger and more sustainable post-pandemic future for the sector.”

Professor Marina Novelli (PhD), University of Brighton, said:

“This was an important process in line with Airbnb’s desire to develop their relationships with local communities and work with government, policy makers and city leaders to develop a sector-wide host registration system that is accessible and effective for all. It is vital we get this right as it will provide a key foundation for a stronger and more sustainable post-pandemic future for the sector.”

Short-term lets help fuel the UK economy

Short-term lets (STLs) provide an opportunity for people to earn a little more money to cover their bills by renting out a spare room, or their entire home when they are out of town. Hosts and guests on Airbnb contributed £5.1 billion to the UK economy in 2019*, through increased tourism and the associated benefits they bring to local areas, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the travel industry on its knees.

*Airbnb 2020 data

Short-term lets help fuel the UK economy

Short-term lets (STLs) provide an opportunity for people to earn a little more money to cover their bills by renting out a spare room, or their entire home when they are out of town. Hosts and guests on Airbnb contributed £5.1 billion to the UK economy in 2019*, through increased tourism and the associated benefits they bring to local areas, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the travel industry on its knees.

*Airbnb 2020 data

The challenge: a complex regulatory landscape

The growth of the short-term letting sector has raised a number of regulatory questions too.

People operating STLs are currently required to comply with a range of regulations, such as planning and health & safety, which are enforced by various authorities. However, the UK does not currently have a registration system that allows these authorities transparent oversight over short-term letting activity in their area.

The challenge: a complex regulatory landscape

The growth of the short-term letting sector has raised a number of regulatory questions too.

People operating STLs are currently required to comply with a range of regulations, such as planning and health & safety, which are enforced by various authorities. However, the UK does not currently have a registration system that allows these authorities transparent oversight over short-term letting activity in their area.

Short-term letting platforms should be good partners to communities

The short-term letting sector must have the backing from - and have a positive impact on - the communities where hosts live, and guests are visiting. That’s why Airbnb has proactively engaged with local representatives and councils across the UK to better understand how we can work together to maximise the benefits of STLs and reduce any challenges faced at a local level.

Short-term letting platforms should be good partners to communities

The short-term letting sector must have the backing from - and have a positive impact on - the communities where hosts live, and guests are visiting. That’s why Airbnb has proactively engaged with local representatives and councils across the UK to better understand how we can work together to maximise the benefits of STLs and reduce any challenges faced at a local level.

Listening to voices across the UK

An extensive consultation was carried out by BritainThinks and The University of Brighton with 70 participants from across the country, including local authorities, policymakers, residents’ associations, destination marketing organisations, Hosts on Airbnb, and other key stakeholders.

View the BritainThinks report

Listening to voices across the UK

An extensive consultation was carried out by BritainThinks and The University of Brighton with 70 participants from across the country, including local authorities, policymakers, residents’ associations, destination marketing organisations, Hosts on Airbnb, and other key stakeholders.

View the BritainThinks report

National online registration is a simple solution

Airbnb is calling for the Government to create a simple-to-use, national registration system for the short-term letting sector, which would empower local authorities and communities, hosts and guests in equal measure.

National online registration is a simple solution

Airbnb is calling for the Government to create a simple-to-use, national registration system for the short-term letting sector, which would empower local authorities and communities, hosts and guests in equal measure.

The need for legislative change

A national registration system will require legislative change from the Government.

We believe new legislation can help to foster a better operating environment for small tourism businesses, without imposing additional legal obligations on them and benefit local communities all across the UK.

The need for legislative change

A national registration system will require legislative change from the Government.

We believe new legislation can help to foster a better operating environment for small tourism businesses, without imposing additional legal obligations on them and benefit local communities all across the UK.