Growth in short-term-let market raises fire concerns

Fire chiefs have said many short-term lets are 'essentially operating as a bed or breakfast or hotel'Image copyright
Getty Images/emzet70

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Fire chiefs say many non permanent we could are “essentially operating as a bed and breakfast or hotel”

The enlargement of home-sharing condominium houses is inflicting fire protection concerns, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has instructed BBC Radio five reside Investigates.

Tourism business leaders mentioned a “Grenfell-style incident” may occur except inspections have been enforced.

MPs have known as for all houses used for non permanent we could to be registered.

The Short Term Accommodation Association mentioned hosts are “strongly recommended” to practice protection steerage.

An NFCC spokesperson mentioned fire and rescue products and services are “not aware” of what number of non permanent condominium houses are running in native spaces, making it “very difficult” to evaluate doable possibility.

They added: “Without this knowledge of properties essentially operating as a bed and breakfast or hotel, it is almost impossible to carry out an inspection or give owners relevant advice to ensure their buildings are safe.”


Fire protection legislation applies to all houses in which individuals are paying to stick.

In 2017, a flat rented out on Airbnb in Plymouth was once known as a “deathtrap” after a fire inspection found out it had poisonous tiles, inaccurate locks and a fire extinguisher that had no longer been examined for greater than 15 years.

The proprietor was once given a six-month suspended sentence. The assets was once taken off Airbnb, and has since been blocked from returning.

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Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

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A cramped bed room in the Plymouth Airbnb assets discovered to have damaged fire protection laws

Paul Bray, fire protection supervisor with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, mentioned the host confirmed a “lack of regard for life”.

“People aren’t aware of their rights to be protected from fire – and they will stay in places where the minimum standards are not being met,” he added.

“We are concerned that there are a lot of properties like this out there.”

Kate Nicholls, of the United Kingdom Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, mentioned there was once a big quantity of proof suggesting that business landlords have been the usage of on-line home-sharing websites to hire out huge houses all yr spherical.

“We are potentially risking a Grenfell-type tragedy that would be disastrous for families and further damage our reputation as a safe, attractive tourist destination.”

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Kate&Toms/ Google

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Some non permanent we could are marketed as “party houses”

There has been massive enlargement in the home-share condominium market. Airbnb listings in 10 UK towns greater via virtually 200% between 2015 and 2017 to greater than 210,000 – which is greater than 10 instances the choice of conventional mattress and breakfasts.

In March, MPs at the parliamentary team for tourism mentioned “all businesses offering accommodation should compete on a level playing field” in the case of law.

But the B&B Association mentioned there was once recently a “total and utter lack of enforcement” of protection rules in the non permanent lettings market.

Chairman David Weston mentioned: “The authorities only inspect high-risk Airbnb style properties if someone complains, which is hugely unlikely, or if there is a fire.”

Merilee Karr from the Short Term Accommodation Association mentioned her participants, which come with Airbnb, have followed the well being and protection requirements from the long-let business.

“We strongly recommend hosts to follow the guidance the industry offers all our hosts,” she mentioned.

“Wherever we find instances where those standards aren’t being met we address them with urgency.”

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Andrea Ku

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Rubbish left via visitors outdoor a non permanent let in Liverpool

Fire possibility isn’t the one factor that has been raised with on-line non permanent condominium houses.

Andrea lives reverse a £2,000-a-night assets in Liverpool indexed on that sleeps 24 other folks. She mentioned visitors regularly create late-night noise and sell off overflowing luggage of garbage.

“A close-by resort needed to leap thru such a lot of hoops to get a licence, and they’re truly acutely aware of getting the stability proper.

“They are paying charges for other folks to stick and be quiet – and those individuals are getting away with it.”, the agent for the home, mentioned they’d deal with “all problems” with the owner. Liverpool City Council said the property was being investigated and a “making plans contravention realize has been issued”.

Karen Buck MP, who has been campaigning for a non permanent we could registration scheme, mentioned there was once now “rising consensus” round the problem.

“We know there are a vital minority who’re letting houses on domestic sharing websites that lift problems for neighbours and are in breach of the legislation – whether or not it is round insurance coverage, fire protection, or anti-social behaviour.

“They need to engage with us in order to prevent the problem getting worse.”

An Airbnb spokesperson mentioned the corporate had teamed up with the NFCC to offer hosts with data on learn how to make their houses more secure, and run professional protection occasions.

“If visitors alert us to a danger or protection factor at an inventory, we straight away droop the checklist and examine.

“The vast majority of hosts and visitors are excellent neighbours and respectful travellers, incidents are extremely uncommon.”

five reside Investigates is on BBC Radio five reside, 15 April at 11:00 BST – compensate for BBC iPlayer Radio.

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