Measures to boost sharing economy in London

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis outlined details of government reforms aimed at ensuring London residents have the opportunity to rent their homes out on a short term basis, without paying for a council permit.

Under a law dating back to the days of the Greater London Council from 1973, any Londoner who wants to rent out their home for less than 90 days must apply for planning permission, or else face a fine of up to £20,000 for each ‘offence’.

The laws are poorly and confusingly enforced across London, as was highlighted during the 2012 Olympics. Londoners now increasingly want to rent out their homes temporarily, to take advantage of internet websites allowing short-term rents. The reforms will also help boost London tourism, by increasing the availability of competitively priced accommodation, and reduce the number of houses lying empty.

Following a consultation last year, the government today (9 February 2015) published details of how the law will be overhauled and scaled back, while ensuring common sense measures to protect local amenity.

Brandon Lewis said:

“We live in the 21st century, and London homeowners should be able to rent out their home for a short period without having to pay for a council permit. These laws date from the long-gone era of the GLC, and need to be updated for the internet age.

“We are putting in some common sense measures to protect local amenity, whilst allowing Londoners who go on holiday to make a bit of extra money by renting out their home whilst they are away.”