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UK enacts sharing economy law

Last week the UK passed a progressive law supporting homesharing platforms, amid ongoing global debate around regulation of sharing economy businesses.

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Image licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Flickr user chrisinplymouth

The new act grants residents in London permission to share their premises for up to 90 days on websites like AirBnB, without needing to gain permission from the local authorities. According to UK Minister for Housing Brandon Lewis, this development overturns “unworkable and outdated rules dating back to the long gone, analogue days of the 1970s”, and enables Londoners “to make a bit of extra money” by cutting bureaucracy.

According to a press release from AirBnB:

The new law makes the UK a leader in the sharing economy, adding London to the growing list of cities across the world implementing progressive laws that embrace home sharing, including Paris and Amsterdam.

After seeing rapid expansion of sharing economy platforms, particularly in transport, accommodation and “odd jobs”, concern has been growing around the legality of some practices in this emerging sector. As wells as business as usual becoming disrupted for the incumbent players such as hotel chains, questions have also been asked around tax contributions, insurance and the safety of those participating.

Local and national policymakers are now playing catchup to bring legislation in line with a trend that is becoming increasingly mainstream.

The growth of these disruptive business models has been facilitated by both the rise of a new type of consumer who favours access over ownership, in parallel with widespread access to the internet especially when mobile. And while this disruption is bound to redistribute a portion of the job market, shared use systems have a role in the circular economy through the more effective flow of resources. What’s more, enterprising individuals and creative startups are constantly expanding range of sharing economy businesses, creating local jobs in the process, as Matt Hancock, UK Minister for Business notes: “Platforms like Airbnb are empowering a generation of innovators and everyday entrepreneurs.”

Source: Queen Signs Home Sharing into UK Law

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The Author

Joe Iles

Joe Iles

I'm Editor in Chief of Circulate and Digital Architect at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

When I'm not discussing the circular economy, I also love talking about digital media and online trends, memes, music, bad films and good beer.

You can find me on twitter @joeiles or email joe[at]circulatenews.org

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