First independent accreditation for the short-term accommodation sector is launched nationwide

UK, March 11, 2019 The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) has rolled-out the first ever UK-wide accreditation scheme in the short-term let / home-sharing sector.

Formed in 2017, as the sector trade body, the STAA has consistently raised the bar in industry standards, promoting and driving best practice among its members across the UK.

The accreditation scheme followed a successful pilot programme launched in June 2018. It is designed, managed and delivered by Quality in Tourism, an independent organisation which is synonymous with driving up standards and benchmarking businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry, having run the Visit England scheme for more than 20 years.

The STAA accreditation scheme is like a ‘kite-mark’ and means that homeowners who want to rent out their property for a week or two while they go on holiday, through to companies who manage homes, will be independently checked every year to ensure that properties are:

  • SAFE: which means health and safety and fire risk are in place – e.g. each property has an up to date gas certificate and working Carbon Monoxide detectors

  • CLEAN: each property is appropriately clean and comfortable as any guest should expect and achieves minimum standards equivalent to the traditional sector

  • LEGAL: which means compliant – each property is insured and complies with laws and is appropriately insured

 Merilee Karr, Chair of the STAA and CEO & Founder of home accommodation provider UnderTheDoormat commented: “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.”

Heather Wheeler MP, Housing Minister, Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government said: “Short-term lettings help households to boost their income by renting out their under-used accommodation, which in turn promotes economic growth through tourism. However, it is crucial that consumers can have confidence in the accommodation they book and in those responsible for sharing, hosting and managing that accommodation.” 

“We supported the STAA’s work with Westminster City Council to set up the Considerate Nightly Let Charter last year, helping hosts to avoid disrupting their neighbours. I am delighted to see the STAA taking further steps to drive up standards and promote best practice by introducing this independent accreditation scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – and leading the way in creating a set of standards to help consumers navigate our growing sharing economy.” 

Deborah Heather, Director at Quality in Tourism commented: "Quality in Tourism is delighted to have worked with the STAA to evolve this accreditation. The changing face of the industry means we need to help both operators and consumers to get not only what they want in terms of modern products and options, but what they also need in terms of compliance and safety. The accreditation acts as a safety net for everyone, it makes sure operators are meeting their obligations and consumers are protected. It is a relatively easy and cheap way of ensuring you and your guests are protected.  We look forward to working with STAA and other countries to offer a truly global approach to accreditation in order to protect both consumers and operators.” 

 About the STAA

STAA members include peer-to-peer accommodation platforms, branded home accommodation providers and property management service providers, as well as auxiliary services such as insurance.

Other recent measures the STAA has introduced to reassure consumers and provide guidance and help to hosts and professional companies who manage accommodation includes:

  • A Code of Conduct to protect guests and hosts, support regulatory enforcement, maintain residential amenity and support local businesses

  • Partnership with the National Fire Chief’s Council to produce best practice fire safety guidelines for occasional short-term letters

  • Joint working with local authorities to ensure the benefits of the sector can be realised while developing policies that can address concerns about activity such as noise, rubbish and security (e.g. we have agreed a ‘considerate short-term letting charter with Westminster City Council, which clearly sets out best practice standards which all hosts, property owners and management companies should follow to ensure compliance)

  • Buildings Best Practice Policy aimed at guiding building management and hosts in communal buildings on a balanced and responsible approach to short-letting

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Notes to Editors

  • https://www.ukstaa.org/ The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) was founded in 2017

  • The current members are: The Air Agents, Airsorted, Airbnb, HomeAway, Spothost, StayBeyond , onefinestay and UnderTheDoormat

  • Membership is open to companies and organisations that promote, provide or service short term accommodation rentals

  • STAA is seeking to work with all stakeholders towards a stable and supportive regulatory environment that promotes the UK as a global leader in the provision of short-term accommodation

  • STAA believes the industry delivers multiple benefits to consumers, hosts, the wider business community and to the UK government, through:

    • More choice for consumers

    • More accommodation supply for tourists

    • A more optimal use of existing space

    • Added income for individuals

    • Added income for Government

    • Employment opportunities

    • Local business growth

    • A more competitive tourist industry

  • STAA is creating modern world class solutions that speak to the debate and address concerns in the short-term accommodation environment, including how to:

    • Distinguish between amateur and professional activity

    • Ensure growth in short-term letting does not reduce the amount of housing stock available for longer-term lets 

    • Ensure a level playing field between the hospitality industry and new platforms

    • Ensure that hosts are paying tax on income accrued via short-letting

    • Ensure that consumers are adequately protected and have trust in the services being offered

    • Better enforce the rules that exist and maintain residential amenity