The safety of Airbnb-style holiday lets is to be assessed for first time.

Quality in Tourism’s safe, clean and legal assessment scheme is being introduced by the Short-Term Accommodation Association.

The aim is to ensure its registered properties are fit for purpose, safe and legally compliant.

This means that short term letting accommodation will be independently assessed to ensure the safety of guests and to protect homeowners.

The STAA was founded in 2017 with current members including The Air Agents, Airsorted, Airbnb, HomeAway, Spothost, StayBeyond , onefinestay and UnderTheDoormat.

The ‘kite-mark’ style scheme checks the health and safety credentials of a property, including working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; ensuring the accommodation is clean and meets customer expectation; and to make sure that the property is legally compliant with appropriate insurances and certificates.

Each property will be assessed annually.

The association piloted the scheme from Quality in Tourism last year and has started introduce it to members, from homeowners who let their property for a couple of weeks a year to large companies that manage numerous rental properties.

Quality in Tourism director Deborah Heather said: “The lack of assessment in this sector has been shockingly lacking, putting customers at real risk of injury or worse. As the popularity of short-term holiday lets has been increasing throughout the country, the consumer has become more and more vulnerable.

“Until now assessment of short-term lets has been non-existent creating a major disparity between the health and safety requirements in accommodation such as hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs; and short-term rentals from sites such as Airbnb.

“Consumers have assumed that they are safe when renting from shared economy booking platforms, but the reality is that it isn’t mandatory for accommodation to even install a smoke alarm.

“This announcement is a major step forward for the industry and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

STAA chair Merilee Karr, CEO and founder of home accommodation provider UnderTheDoormat, said: “This is a really exciting announcement for the short-term letting industry in the UK and beyond.

“As CEO of a member company, as well STAA chair, I am passionate about setting the bar for high standards in our growing industry and delighted that short-term accommodation hosts and property management companies can now all apply to be independently assessed and accredited on their ‘safe, clean and legal’ standards.

“It is a great example of the concrete steps that the STAA is taking to increase consumer transparency and create an environment for the responsible growth of the short-term accommodation industry.”

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