Yesterday in Parliament, Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner supported calls for stronger regulation of the holiday-let market, including Airbnbs, to support local residents and councils.

MPs heard calls for better regulation of the holiday-let market, with Daniel Zeichner being a signatory to a new proposal to introduce a register of short and holiday-let accommodation. Karen Buck, the Labour MP who led the debate, said that the while the digital era had created opportunities across the economy, the problems that came with it were unresolved. She quoted Cambridge as one of a number of cities reporting problems.

She recognised that holiday let companies such as Airbnb are popular and enjoyed by many, and have contributed to the economy, allowing people to let out their houses or spare rooms. However the increasing commercialisation of these sites has created pressures on housing supply, difficulties for local councils trying to enforce rules, and led to a rise in anti-social behaviour and criminality linked with unregulated short-term lets.

In Cambridge, there are an estimated 500 – 750 Airbnbs, and this figure has been rising rapidly in the past decade. At the same time, the number of investigations into people misusing homes for holiday-lets has risen, with Cambridge City Council raising this as a growing concern.

Mr Zeichner previously called for such a register and has raised it in successive debates in Parliament. He said “Airbnb and other platforms allow great flexibility for hosts and customers, but this must remain a real sharing economy. The system must not be exploited by commercial operators using Airbnb to avoid planning regulations and restrictions. I supported yesterday’s Bill in Parliament as our councils need to be able to work with local residents where problems with holiday-lets arise”.

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