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Politicians want action on Airbnb lets using ex-council houses

Politicians of both major parties have voiced concern over former council houses being used as Airbnb and other short lets in a part of the UK with a major housing shortage.

In 2019, before the onset of the pandemic, Cornwall Council announced it would take legal action against homeowners who did not abide by the covenants attached to the sale of former council houses and flats. 

Last month local publicity over a shortage of homes to let in the council followed the revelation that Cornwall had more than 10,290 active Airbnb listings but, in comparison, only 69 rental properties available on property website Rightmove.


Houses bought under the government’s Right to Buy scheme, which was designed to help council and housing association tenants buy their homes at a discount, usually have legal restrictions attached to the property, meaning the owner should not rent them out as holiday lets, let them to students or make significant alterations to their property.

Now the Cornwall Live website has carried comments from Labour councillor Jayne Kirkham saying: "There are bonkers amounts being let. I wrote to Cornwall Council officers asking how many were being used in my area and was told about half a dozen and I was shocked because I know there are dozens and dozens in Falmouth. I think there were a dozen in just one road.

"It turns out that half a dozen were only the ones in the last 12 months - before Covid there were an awful lot more. But not all of them have the covenants because the deeds are all different - so it is a faff.”



And Conservative deputy leader of the council David Harris adds: "From what I can see there's no penalty. The Right to Buy covenant was put in place for a reason and you don't get the right to exploit it. We have had a response from officers - there have been delays in following some of this up, which is understandable as officers were diverted to Covid.

"My instinct is we could push harder and my concern is that it doesn't look like there's any sort of financial penalty for people who have broken the rules.”

The authority - one of the most under-pressure in the country in terms of housing demand and supply - says it will take action against ex-council property owners who purchased under Right to Buy and are now breaking rules. 

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    Council tenants generally are not too clever when it comes to money matters, they bought their homes at a discount, but rather than pay the mortgage off they increased it, spent the borrowed cash, went bust, house re possessed, sold at auction to a landlord who then rented it back to the ex council tenant , lol.

  • Theodor Cable

    I love it when that happens!!!


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    Andrew I know of dozens where that has happened. And the rent back tenant messes it up again gets evicted then guess who houses him again the council who were so generous with public money to begin with.
    End result - council tenant rinses the house goes on holiday buys flash cars gets LHA still spends the money then needs rehousing. The general tax paying public don’t even know this is happening. Biggest way to save money is end discount on right to buy. That policy in itself is a scandal

  • icon

    The main reason ABNB has gone through the roof is down to the anti landlord legislation brought in and the staycation boom. If the powers to be eere to actually work WITH LL the current issues would be far reduced. The current crisis is because of successive governments taking target at LL.


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