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Homes not hotels: council to take action on Airbnb-style lets

The leader of Southwark Council has promised to take legal action against tenants and leaseholders of council properties who advertise their homes on Airbnb and similar accommodation websites.

Cllr Peter John
Cllr Peter John

Answering a question tabled by Cllr Rebecca Lury, council leader Peter John said this week "I'm proud that visitors from across the world come to visit Southwark, and I am sure that you would all join me in welcoming tourists and other visitors to our wonderful borough.

"However, our residents must always come first, and as the level of housing need in Southwark is so great, it is unacceptable for council flats and houses to be used for any other purpose than as homes.

"The council therefore does not allow any council home, either tenanted or leasehold, to be used as a short-term holiday let, and their use as 'hotels' for commercial purposes is not permitted. We will take legal action where such cases come to our attention.

"Tenants are allowed to rent out a room in their home to a lodger as long as the arrangement is approved. Leaseholders are entitled to rent out their whole property, but a condition of all Southwark leases is that the property can only be used as private dwelling and not a holiday home.

"In April this year, the council wrote to all tenants and leaseholders setting out this policy, and we will now enforce the policy to ensure that council flats and houses are being used as homes for our residents, not as hotels for commercial gain."

Separately, the council has turned down a number of planning applications in SE1 where property owners have sought to regularise the use of their homes as short-term accommodation.

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