There have been fresh calls for new restrictions on Airbnb and other short-term letting websites in this country, just days after the government in Ireland announced plans to introduce a new set of laws to address short-term lettings promoted by the home-sharing company.
The Irish government is proposing regulations to Airbnb, which come into play in June next year. The regulations aim to avert landlords from favouring short-term rental agreements and to keep their rentals on the long-term housing market.
Ireland’s Department of Housing said in a statement: “The purpose of these changes to the planning code is primarily to address the longer-term rental issues arising from the use of properties for short-term letting.
“This is an unregulated activity, it is not homesharing as it is typically understood, and in a time of housing shortage it is unacceptable that rental homes would be withdrawn from the letting market, particularly in our cities and large towns where rents are high and supply is still constrained.”
Berlin, Barcelona, and Paris have all passed measures to regulate similar issues. However, the UK hasn’t, and that is something that needs to change, according to Newcastle City Council.
The council is concerned that far too many properties are being rented out on short-lets in Newcastle, mainly through Airbnb.
The home-sharing website operates a 90-day limit on the number of days a property can be used as an Airbnb in London, but there were no such restrictions outside the capital.
A meeting of Newcastle City Council's planning committee heard restrictions would stop homes being constantly rented out to tourists - including hen and stag parties.
Kath Lawless, Newcastle City Council’s assistant director of planning, said there was “a need nationally to look at this issue” as the council was “constrained” by government legislation.
Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp UK, is among those who are surprised that the Chancellor Philip Hammond did not announce a more stringent clampdown on short-term lets in his Budget statement this week.
Although this sector provides a great boost to the economy, Cobbold was keen to point out that it also affects the fortunes of the lettings sector, and that is why he feels it is the “right time for initial regulation”.
He said: “There has to be an equal tax footing for conventional landlords and those looking to let their homes on a short-term basis, and the proposal for limited tax relief on properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant marks the very first step towards achieving that.
“Over the next decade, it is likely that the short-term lets market will continue to expand, so it will be interesting to see if the government takes a similar regulatory approach as it has done with standard lets in the private rented sector.”