by Gavin Haines, The Telegraph, June 19, 2017
Residents thinking of cashing in on Peckham’s newfound status as South London’s trendiest neighbourhood are being warned against listing their homes on platforms such as Airbnb.
Leaseholders of council properties have been sent leaflets by Southwark Council, warning of possible legal action if they rent out their homes to tourists via short-term rental websites.
Under the terms of their contracts, leaseholders are allowed to sublet rooms, but not on a short-term basis.
“We are aware that a growing number of leaseholders are letting their properties, on a short-term basis, through platforms including, but not exclusive to, Airbnb, Housetrip and Gumtree,” said councillor Stephanie Cryan.
“We welcome visitors to our borough and we are aware there are circumstances where short-term lets are appropriate, but with a growing demand for council homes we cannot tolerate the use of our properties as short-term lets.”
Peckham, which in the early Nineties was the setting for not one but two British sitcoms – Channel 4’s Desmond’s and BBC’s Only Fools and Horses – was once considered one of London’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Some of the worst violence during the 2011 London Riots took place there.
In recent years, however, it has forged a reputation as one of the trendiest districts in the city, with people coming from far and wide to experience its feted nightlife and burgeoning dining scene.
However, Peckham’s recent transformation – accelerated by the arrival of the London Overground in 2012 – has not been entirely positive: property prices in the area have risen sharply, which has pushed many locals out.
Airbnb has been seen to have a similar effect on neighbourhoods: as more people try to cash in on the sharing economy, rooms are often rented out to tourists rather than locals, as the returns are higher.
“As far as we are concerned our homes are homes, not hotels,” said Cryson. “We want people in our council homes and on our council estates who are a part of the community, not visitors passing through.”
Peckham isn’t the only destination to increase its scrutiny of the sharing economy. Many cities around the world – including Paris, New York and Florence – have made moves to clip the wings of platforms like Airbnb, which, as Telegraph Travel reported last week, have been blamed for “emptying” some Italian cities.
Airbnb told Telegraph Travel: “We remind hosts to check and follow local rules before they list their space and throughout the year. We also share helpful information and links to official information on our responsible hosting page.”