Westminster Labour Councillors are calling for strong action to be taken by Westminster Council to stop unauthorised short term letting at 110 Vauxhall Bridge Road where the former ‘Surprise’ public house has been refurbished in to 10 flats.
Since the recent redevelopment of the building, none of the individual units has, according to Land Registry records, been sold. The entire property has a single owner, Mendoza Ltd.
Four different flats, with a sleeping capacity of 23 people in total, are being marketed for short-term lettings under the name “Vauxhall Bridge Apartments”. The Booking.com page includes the statement that “Vauxhall Bridge Apartments has been welcoming Booking.com guests since 16 Oct 2018 “
Further evidence that the building is being run for Short Term Lettings is apparent from the multiple keysafes outside the door to 110 Vauxhall Bridge Road.
- Almost all flats have their own keysafe
- One flat even has different keysafes for different bedrooms
- There is a keysafe for “Maintenance”
- There is a keysafe for the “Laundry Team”
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour Environment & City Management spokesperson, said:
“The Council should take urgent strong action to stop this flagrant abuse of the planning laws which is illegally turning residential flats into hotels bedrooms. There is massive evidence that this building has been bought by a single corporate owner who has never made any effort to sell or let on a long-term basis any of the individual flats and has advertised and managed the property as a hotel-style operation. “
“There is now an epidemic of unauthorised short-term holiday lets all over central London which is reducing the housing stock available to residents, pushing up rents and turning apartment blocks into hotels. This has to be stopped before more residential areas are taken over and have the life blood sucked out of them”
Labour is also calling for a change in the law so that only those living in a property as a primary residence would be allowed to rent their property out for short-term lets. This would make the short terms less of a full-time business and more of an opportunity for bona fide residents to rent out their flat or rooms in their flat for extra income while they are away on holiday or if they have an empty room.