Owners of Airbnb and other rental properties in Liverpool are being urged not to host bookings from visitors and tourists during the coronavirus pandemic.
The council’s Environmental Health Team has received a number of complaints about homes and apartments still being rented out – despite advice from health officials for people not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary, and Government guidance that short term lets should be closed.
The council is to write to Airbnb and other rental providers urging them to make their advertisements very clear that the UK is subject to restrictions which discourages non-essential travel and makes going out for sightseeing and other gatherings unlawful.
Any complaints about properties persistently used as short term lets where there is no valid reason for travel will be referred to the appropriate authorities.
Stays booked on Airbnb before 14 March for check-in dates up until 31 May are covered by an ‘extenuating circumstances’ policy with a variety of cancellation and refund options, and hosts can cancel without charge or impact on their Superhost status. More information is available at www.airbnb.co.uk
There are around 300 properties listed for rent in Liverpool in on the Airbnb website at the moment.
Cabinet member for public health, Councillor Paul Brant, said: “Liverpool is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and it is absolutely heart-breaking that we are not able to welcome visitors at this time.
“However, the health and wellbeing of our residents is absolutely paramount and the simple fact is that we are in the middle of a pandemic which has already led to the death of dozens of people in our city, as well as hundreds of confirmed cases so far.
“We need the home rental sector to follow the lead of our hotels in acting responsibly and making sure that they cancel bookings for the foreseeable future.
“The more united we are in obeying the restrictions, the quicker we will reach the peak of infections and the sooner we can get to a position where life can begin to return to normal.
“This is not about targeting key workers who are staying in temporary accommodation to carry out a valuable role in keeping vital public services going, such as the NHS.
“It is about unnecessary travel which flouts the very clear guidelines from the Government’s health experts just puts the lives of innocent people at risk and will prolong the current challenges for even longer and may need lead to even tougher restrictions on our lives.”