THE city council is backing a call to regulate short-term let properties and stop them being used as pop-up brothels.
The rise in popularity of sites such as AirBnB is leading to an increase in sex trafficking and use of such properties for rowdy parties.
More than 1,200 properties in Oxford are listed on the site, and Oxford City Council has now joined in a call to regulate the market.
Oxford city councillor Alex Hollingsworth is supporting the calls by a London council for legislation.
Cllr Hollingsworth said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of properties being used permanently as short-term lets, and with that come increasing problems.
“We know of short-term lets in Oxford being used as ‘pop-up’ brothels associated with sex trafficking, and reports of parties with up to 100 guests suddenly appearing in residential areas.”
Cllr Hollingsworth supports the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council and says Government needs to be lobbied to introduce legislation to ensure hosts apply for a licence to be included in a register kept by the council.
He added: “What we now see in Oxford, like other cities, is properties essentially being used as hotels or guest-houses, but without any of the regulation and safety checks that hotels and guest houses undertake.
A spokesperson for AirBnB said: “We have zero tolerance for this type of behaviour and permanently remove bad actors from our platform. Over 260 million people have travelled on Airbnb and bad experiences are extremely rare.
“The overwhelming majority of Airbnb hosts and guests are good neighbours and respectful travellers, but when issues happen, we work to make things right.
“We work closely with police forces on criminal behaviour, and assist them with their investigation in any way we can.”
They added: “There have been no issues in the area brought to our attention by the council.”
There are a number of short-term let providers in Oxford and the spokesman said it was inaccurate to call it an ‘AirBnB issue’.