A new trade body set up to represent companies working with hosts using Airbnb and similar platforms says the government should regulate the sector only in a “balanced and proportionate” manner.

The UK Short Term Accommodation Association makes the statement in a note welcoming the ruling by the European Court of Justice just before Christmas.

The ECJ, in response to a case brought by a French hotel trade group, stated that Airbnb’s status was as an Information Society Service and not as a lettings or estate agent.

Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA, says: “We welcome the clarification. This provides a much greater degree of certainty and confidence for those of our members operating similar platforms, now that a legal precedent has been set.

“For members based in the UK with Brexit ahead, these rules will apply for at least another year during the transition period contained within the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and may be longer lasting. For short term rental hosts and guests, there is little direct impact. The sector remains regulated in the UK, but from now on it will be unlawful to be made subject to additional regulations that currently apply to real estate providers. 

“The UK government maintains the ability to regulate the home-sharing sector in the years ahead and the STAA looks forward to working together with stakeholders to ensure that his happens in a balanced and proportionate way.”

Little has been said so far by the UK government on how Airbnb and similar short let platforms will be regulated, but the Scottish Government says it’s looking at regulation options following a consultation which found widespread support for greater controls.

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