I was hoping some airbnb hosts in London would be able to advise me on the legality of airbnb hosting. Recently I received a circular from my council asking me to confirm that I am the only person living here (and therefore eligible for a single person discount on my council tax) as they say a recent “data matching” exercise showed this might not be the case. I am assuming that one or two of my airbnb guests who had their mail delivered here might have led to this although I can’t be sure.
Once I started googling I then discovered that legally speaking short term letting (less than 3 months) does not seem to be legal in London unless you get planning permission from the council. Apparently some councils are more lax in their interpretation of this legislation than others - Camden Council recently started clamping down, I have heard.
Moreover, there is legislation going through Parliament which legalises Airbnb style short term letting - as long as it is done for no more than 3 months per year. If it is for more than 3 months per year then apparently it counts as taxable at business rates.
Anyway, as you can probably tell, this legal minefield is not one I can make much sense of. I am concerned that if I say I was letting out my room for short term lets the council might consider me in breach of planning permission or consider me to be running a business and therefore eligible for business rates. I read somewhere that as long as my flat cannot be considered as the “sole or main” residence of the people staying here then I am entitled to say that I live alone and therefore am eligible for the single person discount on the council tax. So I am hoping that is the case.
I have already had Airbnb guests staying here almost continuously for the last few months so I am wondering now whether to continue with this in view of the impending legislation.
Thanks a lot for any advice you can give me.