A ban on adverts encouraging landlords to move from providing long-term homes to tenants to Airbnb-style lettings has been called for in London.
Over 8,000 Londoners have appealed to Sadiq Khan, asking for changes to be made.
A petition was started by Generation Rent, the national campaign for private renters, on the 38 Degrees website. This movement has come after Hostmaker, a property management company, paid for adverts across the Transport for London (TfL) network, suggesting that landlords can earn 30% more by switching to holiday lets.
In response, Generation Rent supporters gathered yesterday at Bond Street Station entrance, to protest. They took their own advert on to the TfL network and one protester put on a pigeon mask, to represent the Hostmaker mascot, whilst another acted out shooing them away.
This petition fights back against the tube advertisement, described by Generation Rent as ‘distasteful’, for undermining the Mayor of London’s efforts to make affordable housing available in London.
Support has been gained from London politicians including Karen Buck MP and Assembly members Sian Berry and Tom Copley.
Generation Rent Campaigner Georgie Laming commented: “These tube ads are feeding a narrative that tenants are disposable, and profiteering from property is more important than providing long term homes. They are encouraging landlords to take homes off the market and turn them into hotels that will be often left empty, contributing nothing to the local community.
“If Sadiq Khan is truly committed to making housing affordable in London then he needs to ban ads like these. Unregulated holiday lets are driving up rents and preventing tenants from making a house a home.”
Megan Bentall, Campaigns Manager at 38 Degrees also commented: “Short term lets are spreading across London, pushing up the costs of rent and forcing people out of the communities they’ve always lived in. So these ads are in pretty poor taste.
“That’s why 8,000 people across London are calling for Sadiq Khan to step up and block these ads from Transport for London spaces. The public want politicians to work to fix the housing crisis – not allow companies to run dodgy ads that will make it worse.”
Update: Comment from Hostmaker
Nakul Sharma, Hostmaker CEO, has since commented on their ad compaign, stating: “We are sorry for the concern caused by our recent ad campaign and we acknowledge the tone was misguided. The adverts will be coming down this weekend and we will be reviewing all future creatives with our partners.
“In a cosmopolitan city like London, there is a need for a range of housing and rental solutions to meet the needs of the wide variety of residents and visitors in our capital city. Whilst it’s critical that there is plenty of affordable housing stock available, our portfolio is made up of premium homes in zone 1&2 postcodes and does not take affordable housing stock away from the market. We are here to meet the needs of Londoners and visitors to the capital who would prefer to stay in a high quality, furnished and managed home service. We provide a flexible lettings model to homeowners of these type of properties; blending long-term, mid-term and short-term rentals to suit market demands and help homeowners weather the current slump in rent prices and property sales, ensuring they aren’t left with gaps in the year when their property is standing empty.”