I couldn’t agree more with Ian (City AM) that website owners should act as good corporate citizens and ensure that the sharing economy isn’t the ‘Wild West’. That doesn’t necessarily mean the sharing economy itself is the risk, it’s all about choosing the right companies to work with that have the right values and processes in place to deliver great experiences for everyone involved.
Companies like my own start-up business, UnderTheDoormat, are UK based companies set up to take the risk out of the sharing economy by ensuring the right vetting of guests, and all the proper processes are in place. These companies create employment and pay taxes in the UK. All of the homes I manage for our homeowners meet the 90-day maximum threshold and as they are homes, not rental properties, it helps Londoners earn money when they are not using their most valuable asset. Our focus on the local experiences also helps many other small businesses in London as we always recommend wonderful off the beaten track, independent places to our guests.
While some companies set up to make lots of money and sell the business, others are here to build long-term relationships with homeowners, and create wonderful experiences for tourists and business travelers coming to visit our amazing city. It is in our interest to ensure that both homeowners and neighbours have a good experience with every visit so that we have beautiful homes to let to our future guests. We don’t accept 30% of the booking enquiries we receive as they do not meet our vetting requirements, helping us to have the confidence we will deliver those good experiences and avoid issues. Preventing issues is much better for homeowners, guests and our company than managing issues after they happen and all our processes are set up to achieve that.
Surely the new sharing economy rules benefit the individuals and the economy as a whole. More people from all over the world have the opportunity to come to our city creating incredible stories to tell their friends and family about what a welcoming place London is, having actually stepped into the life of a Londoner during their visit. The sharing economy enables homeowners and UK companies to take advantage of the changing laws in a responsible way- just make sure you choose the right one!
Merilee Karr CEO and Founder