Government investigates regulation of Airbnb and P2P accommodation providers


By Richard Walford

Following the rise of successful P2P accommodation providers like Airbnb there is growing international focus on whether they could be adversely affecting housing demand, residential lettings and hospitality businesses. This in turn has lead to greater regulation of P2P accommodation in a number of international locations including Barcelona and Paris.  Canada and Ireland are this week amongst jurisdictions considering further regulations with the UK Government having announced funding recently to investigate the issue. Planning restrictions, licensing. limiting to primary residences and amounts of space available as well as taxation are all amongst the armoury of controls being discussed.

The Government is launching a push to understand how peer-to-peer accommodation websites such as Airbnb affect local communities, which could pave the way for regulation of such “sharing economy” websites. The Open Data Institute (ODI), an independent body set up by World Wide Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has been handed a £6m grant to pursue a series of projects, including studying the ­impact of property-sharing sites. It opens up the possibility that Airbnb, which has been accused of ­exacerbating housing shortages and disturbing neighbourhoods, could face new rules designed to limit its impact.
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