The Airbnb 90-Day Rule in London

In December 2016, Airbnb introduced its 90-day lettings limit to properties in Greater London. The new policy was live in January 2017, undoubtedly impacting the short-term rental market in the capital.

Here, we introduce you to everything you need to know about Airbnb’s 90-Day Rule in London, including why it was introduced, what impact it is having, and whether or not you can get around it.

We also explain how GuestReady can help you maximise the rental income you receive from your London property and answer some frequently asked questions about London’s controversial rule.

 

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1. What is the Airbnb 90-Day Rule?

 

The 90-Day Rule in London is a rule that was made to help regulate the sharing economy. The rule was welcomed by locals and today the booking platform automatically caps Airbnb bookings to 90-days a year for properties that do not have a planning permit from the local council that their property is situated in.

So, unless you can confirm that you have the required paperwork to let your property on the short-term rental market – Airbnb will restrict the number of occupied nights per calendar year to 90-days.

 

Pros & Cons of the Airbnb 90-Day Rule

As with every form of regulatory legislation, nuance is required when considering the impacts of Airbnb’s 90-Day Rule in London. With that in mind, here are the pros and cons of the policy and what they might mean for you as a potential or current investor in the London property market:

 

Pros

 

  • Preserves long-term housing options for Londoners and ensures that the market isn’t solely taken up by investors looking to profit from short-term rentals. 
  • In some areas, the 90-Day Rule can help to reduce the cost of rent in some London areas, as a direct result of reducing the availability of vacation rentals. 
  • When short-term rentals overcome an area, it can disrupt the community feel and lead to a transient nature. As a result, it helps to protect communities in London, which helps the area in myriad ways.

 

Cons

 

  • The biggest draw of the 90-Day Rule is that it restricts the amount of money hosts can make from their short-term rentals, which may prompt investors to look elsewhere for properties. 
  • Though not necessarily applicable to London, limiting the number of days a property can be used as an Airbnb can negatively impact tourism. 
  • In the longer term, the 90-Day Rule may encourage a black market of sorts, as people look for ways to flout the regulations to rent their property to tourists. 

 

2. What happens when you reach the limit?

When the limit is reached, the platform automatically shuts down your property’s booking capacity for the remainder of the calendar year. This is true regardless of whether the occupied days were spread out over several months or concentrated in a 90-day consecutive period. Once this limit is exceeded, the platform’s policy ensures compliance with local regulations by preventing further bookings.

It’s important to note that the rule is a regulatory measure implemented in certain cities to balance the benefits of short-term rentals with the preservation of long-term housing availability for residents. This rule generally applies to entire homes or apartments and not to shared spaces or individual rooms within a property.

Owners should be aware of these regulations and plan their rental schedules accordingly to avoid potential disruptions in their rental activities and income. It is also advisable for hosts to keep accurate records of their rental activity and review their rental schedule regularly to ensure they remain within the permissible limits. This approach helps in avoiding penalties or cancellation of bookings by the platform once the limit is reached​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​.

 

3. Does Airbnb’s 90-Day Rule apply outside London?

As of now, the rule is specifically applied in the Greater London area. This rule is a part of the regulatory framework set by local authorities to manage the impact of short-term rentals on the housing market and local communities. The rule restricts property owners from renting out their entire home or apartment for more than 90 days in a calendar year without requiring planning permission. This limitation does not apply to shared spaces or individual rooms within a property.

While the rule is currently limited to London, there have been discussions about extending similar regulations to other major cities in the UK. The intention behind such regulations is to ensure a balanced approach to short-term rentals, preserving the availability of long-term housing for residents while still allowing homeowners to benefit from platforms like Airbnb.

Property owners in London who fail to comply with this rule risk substantial fines, which can be as high as £20,000. This serves as a significant deterrent and emphasizes the importance of adhering to local rental regulations. It’s crucial for property owners in London and potentially in other cities in the future to be aware of and comply with such rules to avoid legal and financial repercussions

 

The Airbnb 90-day rule - Greater London Map

 

4. Why was the 90-day rental cap introduced?

Before the rule being implemented, landlords were technically required to apply for planning permission to change their long-term lets to short-term rentals.

London recognised the global shift in how we travel and experience cities, as well as the economic benefits it would bring to Londoners. So, deregulation was put into place to relax the rules. It stipulated that short-term rentals were allowed – for up to 90 days. Airbnb introduced a feature on its platform to enforce the rule in early 2017.

 

GuestReady investigates: Is the 90-Day Rule impacting the short-term rental market in London?

As the rule has been in effect since the start of 2017 in London, we decided to dig a little deeper to see how it is impacting tourism and investors in the city. 

London has the most Airbnb listings in the world, with 80,000 in total. Over half (55%) of these listings are for entire properties

A recent report from Capital Economics provided insight into potential short-term rental trends in the capital despite the increase in regulation on such properties

It suggested that, in the coming years, approximately 10% of landlords are likely to move their private rental properties to the short-term market

One of the reasons for this is due to mortgage interest relief, as well as the fact that the rights of long-term tenants are becoming much stronger, making it more difficult for landlords to move on unruly tenants who may violate their rental agreements. 

There’s no doubt that, despite the rule, London remains an attractive proposition for short-term rentals, given the sheer volume of tourists that arrive in the city every year. But if you decide to list your property as a short-term rental in London, you need to be savvy about its management to ensure that you maximise your potential rental income – this is where GuestReady can help you. 

 

5. How can I ensure that I comply with London’s short-term rental regulations?

There are a few options that you can choose to work within the rules. The first is renting your Airbnb as a short-term let on the platform and then, once you have reached the 90-day limit, turning your listing into a medium or long-term rental.

If you indicate to Airbnb your listing is a ‘90+ days’ rental. Airbnb will not take your listing down and by doing things this way you will be fully compliant with the local regulations for the Greater London area.

 

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The downside of this option is that it can be harder to find Airbnb guests who want to lock in a stay of more than 90 days but, no fear, there are plenty of alternative rental sites that you can refer to promote your property for longer-term stays.

 

6. Airbnb 90-Day Rule FAQ

Can I get around the 90-Day Rule?

The short answer is no; you cannot get around the Airbnb 90-Day Rule. Councils monitor it, and you risk a £20,000 fine if you don’t comply. What’s more, when you reach the 90-day limit on Airbnb, the platform will automatically make your property unavailable for the rest of the year.

That being said, Airbnb is the only short-term rental platform that applies this limit, and you can seek permission from your local council to let your property for more days in a calendar year. It’s best to err on the side of caution, as the last thing you want is to receive a hefty fine.

 

How do I avoid the 90-Day Rule in London?

The easiest way to avoid it is to consider a medium or long-term rental of your property via a traditional tenancy agreement. Nothing stops you from letting out your property privately or via an estate agent to a mid-term rental or long-term tenant.

The rule is specifically in place to reduce the number of short-term rentals in the capital, so if you want to avoid the rule, it’s a good idea to market your property to a different client base.

 

What happens if I have more than one short-term rental in London?

It applies to all entire home listings in Greater London. Therefore, you can only receive ninety-day short-term stays in each of your properties.

 

How do I keep my property open for rentals of more than 90 days in London?

As mentioned, Airbnb automatically closes your property when you have rented it out for ninety days on its platform. However, if you receive special dispensation from your council to bypass the rule, you must contact Airbnb directly. When you show Airbnb proof of your permission to rent your property for longer, your listing will reappear on the platform.

 

Can I ignore the 90-Day Rule?

If you ignore it and make your short-term rental available for more than 90 days via Airbnb, you risk a fine of £20,000, so you must comply with the policy, even if you disagree.

 

7. GuestReady’s UK country manager view

This rule, crucial for balancing the sharing economy with long-term residential needs, mirrors the growing regulatory trends in major cities worldwide. Understanding these short-term rentals regulations is essential for our hosts and owners, and the article’s comprehensive review of the implications for property owners and the rental market serves as a valuable resource.

At GuestReady, we are committed to helping our clients navigate these regulations effectively. By ensuring our hosts are well-informed about such policies, we not only comply with local laws but also secure the best possible outcomes for their rental ventures, aligning with our mission to optimise rental income while adhering to local housing policies.

Moreover, the article’s exploration of the potential impacts of the 90-Day Rule on the London property market offers a nuanced perspective that is particularly relevant to our operations. The balance between promoting tourism and preserving community integrity is delicate, and as GuestReady, we strive to maintain this balance by providing a seamless management experience.

We support our owners in maximising their properties’ profitability within the confines of this regulation by utilising our expertise in property management to extend beyond short and mid-term rentals, offering medium and long-term solutions as viable alternatives. This strategic approach not only enhances our service offering but also reinforces our commitment to responsible hosting and community support in London’s dynamic housing market.

8. How can GuestReady help?

GuestReady works with hundreds of property owners across London to make sure they can achieve the best results for their Airbnb whilst complying with local regulations. GuestReady is STAA accredited, ensuring consumer protection and that their properties are fit for purpose.

We help owners optimise their earnings and letting cycle by listing their property on multiple platforms during peak times to maximise earnings in the high season.

 

Need help? Let us know!

There are many ways we can help you get the most out of your Airbnb listing, through the 90-Day Rule in London so be sure to contact our team today.

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