Call for crackdown on Airbnb-like rentals to protect residents | Politics | New


Ministers have called on businesses, tourism bodies and affected members of the public to submit evidence for an investigation into short-term rentals, where properties are offered for rental for a period of weeks or days.

It comes after MPs warned the practice was driving up property prices, encouraging crime and driving residents out of neighborhoods.

Tim Farron, who represents scenic Westmorland and Lonsdale in Cumbria, said last night: ‘It’s very clear there’s a huge problem and it’s very clear what they need to do.

One key thing they could do now is change the planning law so that vacation rentals and second homes become separate categories of planning use, separate from permanent dwellings.

“This way, we could enforce the preservation of the local stock of affordable housing to rent and buy for the local population.

“The consequences of inaction are the death of villages, the eviction of families and a huge reduction in the workforce, causing massive damage to our society and our economy.”

The number of Airbnb listings across the UK rose from 76,000 in 2015 to 257,000 in 2020, although numbers then fell during the Covid pandemic.

London MP Nickie Aitken says short-term letting has taken properties off the housing market and contributed to soaring house prices in the capital.

Speaking in Parliament, the Tory MP said: ‘The dramatic rise in properties being converted to the holiday accommodation market and away from the private rental sector is ensuring that people are being pushed out of central London.’

Problems caused by short-term rentals included “an increase in associated anti-social behaviour, noise complaints and littering, and an increasingly level playing field in the accommodation industry, which puts pressure increasingly strong on hotels and private bed and breakfast businesses,” she said.

Restrictions have already been introduced in London to ensure properties cannot be let for more than 90 nights a year. But Ms Aitken said many landlords were simply unaware of it.

York MP Rachel Maskell said landlords realized they could offer a property as a family home for around £945 a month or receive £700 in a single weekend by renting it out to visitors attending a bachelor or hen party.

She warned: ‘There is a clash of cultures between families, who just want to get on with the day-to-day life, and the party culture, mostly on weekends, which never stops in the summer.

Ms Maskell said: “People are half-dressed on the streets. Women don’t feel safe in certain alleys…it turns these wonderful little communities of York into nightmares.

Airbnb, the best-known provider of short-term rentals, said it supports greater regulation. A company spokesperson said: “Airbnb recognizes the historic housing and tourism challenges facing the UK and we want our platform to be part of the solution. We welcome regulation and have led the way in championing progressive rules for our industry. »

Announcing the call for evidence, Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “The sharing economy has brought many benefits, both to the tourism sector and the wider economy, but also to owners individuals by creating an additional source of income, and consumers by expanding the range. of accommodation available.

“However, the government also recognizes that the increase in short-term and holiday rentals has raised a range of concerns.”

He said: “The call for evidence will allow us to gather information on this important issue and, if necessary, develop proportionate and evidence-based policy options for possible future consultation.”


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