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Short-term lettings through Airbnb and other online platforms are “growing out of control” in London with up to one in 50 of all homes now estimated to be available, town hall bosses have claimed.
The spread of short term lets is encouraging antisocial behaviour and criminality with residents increasingly complaining about them being used as party houses and for prostitution and drug dealing, councils in the capital said. They believe it is pushing up rents and reducing the availability of homes for the rising number of households who are temporarily homeless, which in England hit 56,280 last year – the highest level since 2010.
Westminster city council said recent problems include a property in Knightsbridge being used as a brothel, a mansion block near Hyde Park where more than a 100 of the 530 flats are thought to be in use as short-term rentals and a mews house in Marylebone rented on Airbnb for five people where police had to shut down a party for 50.