Crackdown on London's short-let landlords:Kensington and Chelsea council gets tough on Airbnb-style rentals as neighbours lodge noise complaints

Across London, local residents are being plagued by noisy holidaymakers staying in short-let rentals. Following a string of complaints, one council has taken the unusual step of issuing an "enforcement notice" against the occupants of a west London property thought to have exceeded the 90-day quota limit.

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A warning shot has been fired across the bows of Londoners hoping to boost their income by renting out rooms on short-let sites such as Airbnb and this summer.

Kensington and Chelsea council has issued an “enforcement notice” against the occupants of a flat in St Ann’s Road, Ladbroke Grove, after fielding complaints from neighbours that the property was regularly being let to a succession of holidaymakers.

Across the capital local residents are finding themselves plagued by streams of noisy visitors disturbing their peace, thanks to the popularity of short-let rentals. In the worst cases, the properties are used for huge parties, disrupting entire blocks.

Experts say the potential profits of short lets are tempting landlords to shun Londoners looking for accommodation for the long term in favour of holidaymakers, thus reducing the supply of rental property in the capital, and pushing up rents.

The St Ann’s Road flat was offered for rent on, according to Kensington and Chelsea council, but the listing now appears to have been removed.

Central London is popular for short lets. There are currently three properties advertised to let in St Ann’s Road on Airbnb — two offering rooms at £40 and £50 per night respectively, and one offering an open-plan loft apartment for £250 per night. 

Other websites, including Onefinestay, also offer the facility to rent out properties for a few nights at a time.

“The use of the property for the purposes of temporary sleeping accommodation… is unacceptable because it leads to an unsustainable loss of permanent residential accommodation within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,” reads the notice issued by Graham Stallwood, the council’s executive director for planning. “It is also liable to adversely affect the quality of life and amenity of nearby residents, for example by reason of noise and disturbance.”

A Kensington and Chelsea spokeswoman confirmed the council had taken the unusual step of issuing an enforcement notice — more commonly issued against home owners making illegal alterations to their properties, and against unlicensed businesses — after being alerted to the situation by complaints from a series of neighbours.

Londoners are legally allowed to rent out their properties for up to 90 non-consecutive nights, but it is thought that the St Ann’s Road property had exceeded this quota. Breaching the rules could result in fines of up to £20,000 and even court action.

Recent research by the Residential Landlords Association found that almost two thirds of listings for London property on Airbnb offer lets of more than 90 days. And 15 per cent of landlords have discovered their tenants subletting rooms without their permission.

“The growing popularity of holiday letting sites… raises serious questions about their potential for abuse,” said Alan Ward, chairman of the RLA, calling for the Government to step in. “Ministers must act to clamp down on those property owners using the website to deny tenants safe, legal and secure accommodation. Landlords also need support to address illegal subletting of properties by their tenants.”

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