“Councils need more powers to deal with the rapid growth of properties let through sharing platforms such as AirBnb” say MPs in a report launched today. Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner MP served on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tourism’s Inquiry into the Sharing Economy, questioning sharing economy accommodation platforms.

The report, covered in The Guardian over the weekend, explores how platforms such as AirBnb match up to traditional accommodation offers, the effect on the market, and on residential lettings. It focuses on visitors‘ safety, and on whether benefits to local residents outweigh costs. The inquiry was led by Gordon Marsden MP, chair of the APPG for Tourism, with Daniel Zeichner MP and Lord Lee of Trafford.

Mr Zeichner says “Although Airbnb and similar platforms allow great flexibility for hosts and customers alike, this must remain about a real sharing economy, rather than a way for commercial operators to avoid council regulations and planning restrictions. I’ve heard of flats being built in Cambridge and advertised as student accommodation, and then being found let out for much of the year on these platforms. This clearly isn’t the spirit of the sharing economy and we must be mindful of local residents needing homes, particularly in places like Cambridge with an acute housing crisis. Platforms must be clear about their intentions, and the rules and regulations that both hosts and customers must abide by.”

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