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Airbnb owners caught ignoring travel ban to let out holiday homes

Booking sites urged to step in after Observer research reveals many doors are open for half-term breaks

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Accommodation booking sites are being urged to clamp down on holiday-home owners after an Observer investigation found that half of Airbnb owners were willing to host guests for trips this month, including over half-term.

Despite a national lockdown with “stay at home” messages and strict government guidelines allowing people to only book accommodation under exceptional circumstances – such as moving house, for work or fleeing domestic abuse – our research found that 50% of Airbnb hosts we messaged to book a trip outside of these reasons, in locations such as London, Margate, Birmingham and Whitstable, were happy to proceed with the booking.

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