Kris Hopkins MP
the Department of Communities and Local Government
03 April 2014
Dear Mr Hopkins
RE: Review of Property Conditions in the Private Rented Sector, Question 22
I have been contacted by the Westminster Amenity Societies Forum, a group representing all the officially recognised residents' associations in the City of Westminster, about your forthcoming Review of Property Conditions in the Private Rented Sector.
In particular, the WASF have drawn my attention to Question 22, which raises the possibility of relaxing the London specific rules on letting residential property on a short term basis. As we are at the heart of London's tourist economy, unauthorised short term lets are a growing problem in Westminster.
Long term residents report feelings of loss of privacy and amenity of their own homes, anti-social behaviour and noise and other unneighbourly behaviour such as dumped rubbish. In several cases, local councillors have felt that the issue has become so much of a problem in their wards that they have allocated funds from their localised ward budgets to support Planning Enforcement Teams.
You will of course be aware that London, and Westminster in particular, also faces a serious housing shortage. Clearing the way for property owners to rent their flats out to tourists or business travellers, rather than long term tenants, will do nothing to alleviate this shortage and could well make it even harder for my constituents to find local accommodation in the private rented sector.
I would reiterate my constituents concern that the relevant provisions of the Greater London Powers Act 1973 not be updated, as least in so far as they apply to Inner London. I would appreciate your comments on this and on the contents of the attached letter.
Please respond in a way that I can copy to my constituent. Thank you for your assistance.
Karen Buck MP