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article imageAirbnb imposes limit on London home rentals

By AFP     Dec 2, 2016 in Business

Airbnb will impose a 90-day limit on the sharing of private homes in London, the home rentals website has revealed amid fears over the British capital's housing market.

The online lettings firm announced the move on Thursday after studying its impact in London and elsewhere, adding it would also enforce a 60-day limit in Amsterdam.

In addition, the San Francisco-based company pledged to remove "unwelcome" commercial operators in London under plans that will be in place by spring 2017.

"We are announcing a change to our platform that will introduce new and automated limits to help ensure entire home listings in London are not shared for more than 90 days, unless hosts confirm they have the required permission to share their space more frequently," Airbnb said in a statement.

Airbnb has recently faced mounting criticism from some quarters that it exacerbates housing shortages and squeezes the long-term rental sector.

At the same time, several cities are exasperated by what is regarded as a service which appears to lack the legal and tax constraints of commercial enterprises.

New York, Miami and Berlin are just some of the cities that have cracked down.

Thursday's news comes after Barcelona city hall said last week it would fine Airbnb and its rival HomeAway 600,000 euros ($635,000) for marketing lodgings that lacked proper tourist permits.

And New York state tightened rental rules in October slapping a steep fine on people who rent out their entire, unoccupied apartment for less than 30 days which has squeezed the city's long-term rental market.

In June, the European Union warned member states against banning "sharing economy" services such as Uber and Airbnb, especially if only to protect existing businesses from competition.

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