The Government has promised to scrutinise a loophole in the Fire Safety Bill that exempts Airbnb properties from meeting proposed new guidelines.
Peers debating an amendment to the Bill, which holds property owners to account for managing fire risk – prompted by the Grenfell fire disaster – urged ministers to look again at the wording which doesn’t cover short-term and holiday let owners.
Lord Kennedy of Southwark, the shadow spokesperson for home affairs, said people renting temporary accommodation needed proper protection but that guidance in the Bill over which type of properties were covered was confusing.
He said: “People renting property on a temporary basis should be properly protected. That means the owners or hosts understanding their obligations and demonstrating that to the people renting the property from them on a temporary basis.”
Labour’s Lord Mendelsohn (pictured) also pointed out the disparity between rented properties and Airbnbs in relation to smoke and carbon monoxide testers.
He told peers: “Because short-term lets fall outside this definition, there is no obligation to ensure either that there are such smoke and carbon monoxide alarms or that they are working. It is clear that in operating the law this is a clear error.”
The Government’s lord in waiting, Lord Parkinson, admitted that work still needed to be done on the Bill and promised to consult with fire safety and tourism bosses.
He added: “I want to ensure that anybody staying in short-term or holiday accommodation is assured that their premises fall within the scope of fire safety legislation, and that there is a requirement on the owner to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that they are safe from the risk of fire during their stay.”