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Renting homes to tourists will 'drain life out of West End'

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Renting homes to tourists will 'drain life out of West End'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Regulation

Westminster Westminster

Government plans to allow London property owners to let out their flats to tourists without getting planning permission will drain the life out of the West End, Westminster's Labour group has warned.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins yesterday pledged to address the “outdated and unworkable” laws that prevent London homeowners renting their properties out on short-term lets to tourists.

But Labour councillors have claimed that such a move will turn many West End mansion blocks in to short stay hotels and lead to a further erosion of Westminster’s residential basis, as well as causing problems for existing long stay residents.

Currently, anyone wanting to rent out their home for less than three months has to seek planning permission, as this is considered a change of the property’s use.

The law dates back over 40 years and only applies to properties in London - homeowners in the rest of the country are free to rent out their homes for as long or short a period as they wish.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group, said: “The illegal use of family homes as short stay holiday lets is a big issue in Westminster’s mansion blocks - especially in the West End, down the Edgware Road and in Bayswater - where the council has been trying to crack down on illegal short-term lets.

"Of course, landlords can make big money by letting out flats to tourists. But long-term residents are already suffering from short-stay visitors damaging common parts and dumping rubbish on the street, as well damaging the residential environment. Illegal short term holidays lets are also reducing the number of homes available to genuine residents and opening up a free-for-all will add to the current housing crisis. Making it easier for property owners to profit from short term lets will drain the life out of the West End”.

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