Back in June, Generation Rent won a moral victory. After 8,000 londoners signed an online petition, we were able to force short terms lets company Hostmaker to pull down their offensive adverts, which encouraged landlords to kick out their tenants.
But it wasn’t just Hostmaker that was at it. Rival firm Nestify launched a campaign of disgusting adverts, which used almost the exact same messaging and data analysis as Hostmaker to send the same message: landlords, ditch your tenants. It felt like where one dodgy ad was defeated, another popped its ugly head to replace it.
But this week we’ve got cause to celebrate again. Behind the scenes, we’ve been working on going one step further – and now Transport for London has announced brand new guidelines banning all short term let adverts.
The new policy, which can be found here, states that any adverts seen to do the following would be banned from the network:
- imply that removing properties from the private rental market for other rental purposes, such as short term lets to tourists, can be financially or materially advantageous to property owners;
- promote companies or services which appear to rely on property owners removing their properties from the private rented sector;
- appear to conflate short term lets with lettings in the private rented sector – the type of lettings the advert is promoting should be unambiguous;
- advertise services for both types of lettings;
- Use phrases or terms associated with short term lets where they are ostensibly advertising services relating to lettings in the private rented sector, or vice versa.
So what’s the problem with short term let advertising? Well, besides the obvious incitement to evict your tenants to make more money, the short term let industry has been notoriously hard to regulate in large cities like London. Whilst the capital has a ban on renting out your home for holiday lets longer than 90 days, Hostmaker was caught out in February deliberately trying to break the 90 day limit on short term lets. And in a city like London with sky high rents and more people than ever living in cramped house shares, it’s crucial that long term homes are available for all.
It feels nice to be right…
Georgie Laming is a campaigner at Generation Rent, which represents 11 millions renters across the UK.