Council wants proper regulation as Airbnb lettings boom in Cambridge
Cambridge is witnessing a boom in Airbnb accommodation with more than 300 rooms now available – but the council says proper regulation is needed for the benefit of everyone.
While Airbnb could not provide statistics to demonstrate year-on-year growth in short-term letting in the city, it acknowledged that it was a popular location for the platform.
A spokesperson for Airbnb said: “Airbnb is built on the principles of making communities stronger and spreading tourism benefits to local families and businesses.
“The majority of hosts on Airbnb in Cambridge share a private room and the typical listing is shared for just over five nights a month.
“We want to be good partners to cities, which is why we remind all hosts to follow the rules, be good neighbours and we promote healthy and sustainable travel.”
One Cambridge resident, Siggi Martinsson, is unhappy with increase.
He said: “Near where I live, on the Flamsteed Close development, the communal areas suffer. The other main user seems to be tourists that use it as a base mainly to travel to London. They arrive in their masses in the afternoons. The short walk between the station and the development seems to often be the only involvement they have with Cambridge.”
Cllr Katie Thornburrow, executive councillor for planning policy and open spaces, said: “Airbnb rentals are clearly a useful service for visitors to Cambridge, but there are a few concerns, especially in a popular city like ours.
“Where properties are available on Airbnb beyond the 90 days maximum then it can have a real impact on the local community. We have seen this near the railway station and in south Cambridge where constant changeovers cause disruption.
“We’re also concerned because properties are being run as businesses, without paying business rates or making an appropriate contribution to refuse collection and other services.
“And we’re worried about people’s safety. Hotels and guest houses are carefully regulated to ensure that there are fire alarms and fire escapes, but Airbnb properties aren’t inspected and may not be safe.
“So although there are good aspects, we believe that there needs to be proper regulation and some control over Airbnb and similar services, for the benefit of everyone in Cambridge."
More by this authorAdrian Curtis