Merilee Karr, chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association and chief executive of UnderTheDoormat, has penned an open letter to the government on behalf of the short-term rental industry to show how the future of the rapidly growing sector can be safeguarded from possible serious damage caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are living through a crisis which is unprecedented in modern times,” she wrote. “The Covid-19 outbreak is first and foremost a tragedy in terms of loss of life, and our thoughts are with the relatives of those who have been impacted by it. As Chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) and CEO of a tourism and hospitality business, I am in the frontline of the Covid-19 economic crisis and seeing with my own eyes the potentially permanent damage that is being caused. It is bordering on catastrophic.”
Karr said there are business owners facing massive reductions in revenue, with employees who are desperately worried about their jobs and suppliers whose work has dried up overnight. She added that there are hosts “who are looking at valuable income they earn from renting out their properties or rooms on a short-term basis, often to support paying their mortgage, completely disappearing”.