Understanding Airbnb regulations in London


New to hosting on Airbnb in London? Then you might not be quite up to speed on the rules regulating short-term rentals in the city. It’s really important to understand and follow regulations like the 90-day rule, otherwise you risk severe penalties. Read our guide to Airbnb regulations in London to find out more.

What is the 90 day rule?

Before the 90 day rule, short-term rental hosts in London had to register for planning permission to change the use of their properties. In 2017, they introduced a new law that allowed anyone to rent out their entire home on a short-term rental basis without planning permission for a maximum combined total of 90 nights per calendar year. The ninety-day limit doesn’t apply to a portion of a home, so you can rent out a room for longer than ninety days without needing planning permission.

The ninety-day limit is automatically enforced on Airbnb, and you’ll see a counter on your Airbnb profile. Once you reach 90 days, Airbnb will stop your listing from taking bookings. If you’re listing on other sites such as booking.com or HomeAway then you’ll need to track and ensure you’re conforming to these regulations yourself.

What about bookings of 90 days or more?

If you get a single booking that is over 90 days, then this doesn’t count as a short-term rental - it instead counts as a mid-term rental, and isn’t included in these regulations.

What if I want to short-let my home for more than 90 days a year?

If you want to short-let your home for more than 90 days a year then you’ll need to get in touch with your local council and get planning permission for your property, called the Temporary Sleeping Accommodation. This will change the purpose of the property from residential and let you rent out for a longer period. If you rent beyond the limit then you risk a hefty fine of £20,000.

Why are these limits in place?

The 90-day limit is there to ensure that short-term rental properties are shared with guests responsibly and sustainably.

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What about taxes?

If you’re providing short-term rental accommodation then you’ll also need to pay council tax on the property, even if you get a reduction or an exemption. The government’s rent a room scheme lets you earn up to £7500 tax-free from letting out accommodation in your primary residence, but for any second homes regular rental income rules still apply.

Whose permission do I need to rent on Airbnb?

If you don’t own the property (like if you’re renting off a landlord yourself) then you’ll need to check with them and get their permission to sublet on Airbnb. If you do own the property, you should still check the lease and your mortgage to make sure you can use the property as a short-term rental.

This guide is by no means comprehensive - you should check your local regulations thoroughly before listing on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites.

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Edward Bate