Airbnb vows to clamp down on ‘illegal hotels’ and pay tourism tax

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Airbnb vows to clamp down on ‘illegal hotels’ and pay tourism tax

Related tags: Hotel, Public house

Airbnb is seeking to silence its critics by imposing tougher regulations on users listing rooms on its site.

Writing in a blog post on the site​ Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky promised to clamp down on users running ‘illegal hotels’ and for the company to pay its ‘fair share’ of hotel and tourist taxes in each city.

“We are proud of almost all of the activity that happens on our platform every day,” ​Chesky wrote.

“But it’s become clear that we need to clarify what we will and will not tolerate in our community.”

Earlier this week departing Premier Inn boss Andy Harrison criticised the UK Government for failing to properly regulate the tax affairs of the site.

He alleged that 40 per cent of Airbnb users were ‘probably professional landlords’ listing multiple properties on the site.

But Airbnb said it was ‘100 per cent committed’ to working with regulatory agencies and policymakers to reduce malpractice.

“We will work to ensure that the Airbnb community pays its fair share…this includes helping to ensure the efficient collection of tourist and/or hotel taxes,” the company said.

“We strongly oppose large-scale speculators who turn dozens of apartments into illegal hotel rooms. Illegal hotels are not in the interests of our guests, our hosts, our company, or the cities where Airbnb hosts share their space.”

Airbnb has also been accused of contributing to housing shortages in major cities, with landlords choosing to rent properties to tourists rather than to long-term tenants.

STR Global estimates that over 25,000 London units are listed on the site​, 52 per cent of which are entire homes.

But the site said it would begin imposing stricter limits on short-term rentals to lessen the impact on housing.

Chesky admitted that while it would ‘take time’ to implement the changes he believed the move would strengthen the ‘sharing economy’ worldwide.

However, Harrison said that he had written to the Government and the House of Lords urging for greater regulation of the site.

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Hotel

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