In common with hospitality businesses in cities the world over, guesthouse owners in Cambridge have slammed Airbnb over its hosts avoiding licences which cost legitimate businesses thousands of pounds.

Airbnb lists more than 300 properties available to rent on its platform including a boat and a former mill.

One resident describes paying ‘a fortune’ for liability insurance, sound insulation, smoke alarms, landlord certificate, health and safety checks, VAT and council tax, and says the competition from the sharing economy could see his guesthouse closing within three years, since he is having to slash prices without dropping standards. The city council has suggested guesthouses need to consider a new business model, while Airbnb cites benefits for the local economy in terms of incoming tourism and share of taxes.

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