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Calls for ban on ad pushing Airbnbs over long-term lets

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been urged to ban an advert which suggests landlords could make more money by switching to Airbnb-style short holiday lets rather than offering long-term tenancies.

The campaign group Generation Rent started a petition which now has more than 8,000 signatures calling for the Mayor to ban the posters which appear in underground stations across the capital.

The tube adverts are from Hostmaker, a company which helps property owners manage short-term rentals through sites like Airbnb.

The headline of the advert reads: “My long-term let is ticking along terribly.”

Underneath this the caption reads: “But with our dynamic mix of short and mid-term lets, your properties could earn you up to 30 per cent more over the year.

“We’ll leave it to other landlords to explain how at hostmaker.com.”

Generation Rent says that as well as those who have signed the petition, its campaign against the adverts is supported by Karen Buck MP and London Assembly members Sian Berry and Tom Copley.

Campaigner Georgie Laming says: “These tube ads are feeding a narrative that tenants are disposable, and profiteering from property is more important than providing long term homes.

“They are encouraging landlords to take homes off the market and turn them into hotels that will be often left empty, contributing nothing to the local community.

“If Sadiq Khan is truly committed to making housing affordable in London then he needs to ban ads like these.

“Unregulated holiday lets are driving up rents and preventing tenants from making a house a home.”

38 Degrees campaigns manager Megan Bentall adds: “Short-term lets are spreading across London, pushing up the costs of rent and forcing people out of the communities they’ve always lived in.

“So these ads are in pretty poor taste.”

Hostmaker chief executive Nakul Sharma says: “In a cosmopolitan city like London, there is a need for a range of housing and rental solutions, to meet the needs of the wide variety of residents and visitors in our capital city.

“Whilst it’s critical that there is plenty of housing stock available for renters such as those highlighted by the ‘Generation Rent’ organisation, our offering is designed specifically to meet the needs of visitors to the capital who would rather stay in a high quality, furnished and managed home service.

“We provide a flexible lettings model to homeowners of these type of properties; blending long-term, mid-term and short-term rentals to suit market demands and help homeowners weather the current slump in rent prices and property sales, ensuring they aren’t left with gaps in the year when their property is standing empty.”

Hostmaker adds that it manages fewer than 1,000 homes in the capital, which is equivalent to less than 0.2 per cent of the inner London private rental market.

It says these tend to be premium properties in zone 1 and 2 and therefore its business does not reduce the amount of affordable rental properties available to long-term tenants.

He adds: “Many of these homes were sitting empty before they were signed up and we would never encourage landlords to evict tenants.

“We are not and we cannot take responsibility for the lack of affordable housing in the capital.”

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