Manchester

Manchester considers tougher regulation of flat-share websites

Manchester Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Manchester has seen a large increase in the number of city centre flats in recent years

Apartment-sharing websites such as Airbnb and Booking.com could face tougher regulation in Manchester over concerns about "party flats".

Some city centre residents have become increasingly frustrated with short-term tenants blighting their neighbourhoods with noise and anti-social behaviour.

Manchester City Council is investigating whether more powers are needed to regulate the websites.

An Airbnb spokesman said action is taken against any reported issues.

Residents of Manchester's Northern Quarter, a popular destination for stag and hen parties, are among those who have complained.

One man told BBC Radio Manchester he and his neighbours lives were being "made a misery".

He said: "Should a four-year-old child ever see a grown man throwing up on a carpet, asleep in the corridor, passed out at ten in the morning? It's unacceptable."

'Considering moving'

Matt Bromiley, who lives in a block of flats in Cambridge Street, close to bars and restaurants in the Deansgate area, said he was considering moving.

"It has become a real problem," he said.

"A week ago last Monday, it was seven in the morning and there was a man in his underwear high on drugs in the corridor."

In London, hosts can advertise their accommodation on flat-share websites for a maximum of 90 nights per year after residents raised similar concerns.

Manchester City Council is now inviting affected residents to get in touch as councillors consider if similar methods could be put in place.

Councillor Suzanne Richards, executive member for housing, said: "We are currently looking at ways we can tighten the short-term letting market to bring cities like Manchester in line with the capital."

However, she said the London model had proved "quite challenging to enforce", so it was important to understand more about the market before seeking further powers.

She said residents could help the council "build up an evidence base" so it could "put a case to the government to give us further powers so we can take action".

A spokesman for Airbnb said the company has "zero tolerance for antisocial or disruptive behaviour".

"The vast majority of our hosts and guests are good neighbours and respectful travellers and, with over half a billion people having travelled on Airbnb, negative experiences are incredibly rare."

While Airbnb is the market leader, any change in the rules would apply to all flat-sharing websites.

Booking.com have been contacted for comment.

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