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Graham Awards


Airbnb and short lets wreck local housing markets, say conservationists

The Council for the Protection of Rural England is the latest body to blast Airbnb and other short lets for their impact on the mainstream rental sector.

New findings in a CPRE research report show a 1,000 per cent increase in short-term lets nationally in 2015-21, with most in rural staycation hotspots – all while 176,000 families wait on social housing lists.

Its analysis of data on properties listed on Airbnb and other short let sites shows that 148,000 homes that could have otherwise – or in some cases, previously were – used as homes by local families are instead being put up on short-term and holiday lets.


This happens as CPRE claims there has been a steep decline in the completion of social housing. 

The campaign’s data shows the biggest rises in locations such as Cornwall, Devon, South Lakeland and Northumberland, often combined with social housing waiting lists that are lengthening year on year.

The analysis shows that in South Lakeland, for example, which saw a 1,231 per cent increase in short term listings between 2016-20, roughly half the families in need of social housing could be accommodated in properties exclusively available for holiday rentals.

And in Cornwall, which saw short term listings grow 661 per cent in the five years to September 2021, there are roughly 15,000 families on social housing waiting lists and the same number of properties being marketed as holiday let.

CPRE chief executive Crispin Truman, says: “There simply has to be a government response to the fact that our rural housing supply is disappearing into an unregulated short-term rentals market that simply didn’t exist six years ago.”

The CPRE wants tighter controls on second home ownership, including higher council tax on second homes and the requirement for short term lets to have planning permission.



Additionally, it wants the definition of ‘affordable’ to be changed in national planning policy, with rents being tied to local incomes rather than market prices.

Truman adds: “It’s clear the government needs to act fast to avert a growing housing crisis. With the cost of living set to hammer people’s finances in the coming year, this is a problem that’s quickly getting out of hand.

“Across our most traditional rural communities, from the beaches of Cornwall to the lakes of Cumbria, homes that used to be rented to local families sit empty for much of the year. Hard-working people are suffering and they will not easily forgive a government that promised to level them up if it leaves them falling through the cracks of a broken system.”

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  • icon

    A direct result of Section 24 and legislation shifting towards supporting tenants and penalising landlords. Everyone hates landlords - but try to rent a property without one! It is time for local authorities and the government to build the affordable homes that the country needs rather than expecting landlords to behave like the providers of social housing.

  • icon

    I think you might want to thank the government for ruining long term let's and the hostile environment that is created towards landlords well before airbnb came along. Actually airbnb is mopping up a lot of the housing issues for example where people can't get long term housing and need housing straight away, I think you will find that they go to an airbnb. It beggars belief the way LL are treated but yet you harp on about a housing shortage and the very people that provide housing are demonized. You make your bed you lie in it. Leave Airbnb alone.

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    The first issue to address is the unequal treatment of standard BTL and holiday lets. Standard BTL is providing long term homes for people who for various reasons aren't ready or able to buy a suitable property and medium term homes for seasonal or temporary workers or students. Why are standard BTL tax rates so punitive when we are providing a basic necessity? Support for standard BTL landlords during the pandemic was pretty much non existent and the eviction ban drove countless landlords to sell or switch to holiday lets at the earliest opportunity.

    Holiday lets, which are a luxury not a necessity, are given far better tax treatment, could claim financial support during the pandemic and don't have any eviction issues.

    The whole situation has been created by a lack of joined up thinking at government level.

    The holiday industry is vital to certain parts of the country but in my opinion would largely be better in the hands of professional holiday companies or hotels with proper planning permission, safety standards and employment rights. Workers in the tourism industry are historically low paid and need access to affordable rental accommodation. That lack of accommodation caused considerable staffing difficulties for many tourism businesses last summer.

    It isn't simply a question of looking at the number of people on a housing list and the number of holiday lets in an area.
    What size is the housing compared to the housing need of the people on the list?
    Is it suitable for year round occupation?
    Is it located anywhere near schools, jobs or public transport?
    Is it's EPC good enough?
    Is Universal Credit going to be part of the equation?
    Is the LHA in any way realistic?
    Is the housing list up to date or even vaguely accurate? Some people could have died, left the area or bought a house and still be on the list.

  • George Dawes

    Agree complete, air bnb near me allow noisy scum that normally couldn’t afford to rent

  • icon

    Not one mention in the Report about what caused all the Problems that now exist, all Comments above got it right & plain for anyone to see. Those people making the Report must have an agenda to further damage PRS or are inept.

  • icon

    Unintended consequences of bad law. Wait until EPC C comes in - the Govt can't complain it hasn't been told what's gong to happen but it will still be surprised when there is a housing crisis!

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    Building more affordable home that’s a joke when we see what’s go on. Big Developers building loads of Flats with favourable Planning Consent to pack more in & higher on the promise of a good percentage of affordable mixed in. When the Developments nearing completion for cash up front sum (buttons in my view) to the Council they get the deal changed for Affordable Flats to convert to Shared Ownership which is ridiculous, giving in many cases control of the Block to the Developer, shared ownership is only a Rental by any other name, an Assured Tenant if you like on a 99 years lease but where you own nothing and less rights than an Assured Shorthold Tenant, get in arrears for 8 weeks and they can take it back, if you want to sell there are restrictions it will be on their terms & conditions and pay their costs,

  • icon

    Agree with everything said by all above and yet still no-one writing these reports talks to us to ask us why we are doing what we are doing!

  • Theodor Cable

    Do I need to care?

    My Flagship Property is a 4 bed, 3 reception room, large conservatory, on site garage, large garden, outdoor utility room, off street car parking for 3 cars, in South West London, with a rental of about £3,450.00 pcm.

    I just hope that it will continue to be wanted when all this other nonsense comes true. :-)
    I am sure that most houses and all those being built will still demand good tenants and will continue for many years.

    Seems to me too, that nearly all tenant problems are rooted in cheap properties, bad locales rented by people who cannot pay their bills and also have no responsibility for their own lives and of their own self respect. So what can you expect from those profiles?

    To ensure that the system works, this government MUST ensure these types are managed by local authorities, and not private LLS.


    Totally agree.

    I realised very early that my cheaper properties caused all the grief. Luckily I was able to upgrade or change them to HMO (Scottish definition for more than 2 unrelated adults) and let to students or young professionals, all with solvent property owning guarantors.

    I don't understand why anyone would willingly accept the grief or risk associated with very low rental properties or benefit claimants as tenants.

  • icon

    The elephant in the room is IMMIGRATION.


    I've got to disagree. We need immigrant workers to fill all the roles our workshy benefits claimants won't do.

    We need fruit & veg pickers on our farms, butchers in our abattoirs, care workers in our care system & many of the lower paid roles in the NHS etc. Many of these areas are really struggling since Brexit when the EU workers went home.

    I have had many hardworking Eastern European tenants - they are not the problem. The problem is the entitled, non-working British benefit claimants.


    Tricia, I agree with you there, I've had good hard working East European families, they are less trouble than many of the British, pay their rent and keep the properties clean, to be honest I would rather rent to them than to the British '' entitled '' classes

  • Theodor Cable

    That is another issue too. Well said, and, of course, the majority of immigrants require low quality housing.

  • Theodor Cable

    What I want to know too, is why does this government allow some 2,000.000 illegal people in the country?

    Those who are illegal should be followed up. If anything is illegal, it should be stopped.

    Imagine if those 2,000,000 were not there, we would no longer have a crisis of housing!!!!!!!!!

  • icon

    If you want more social housing, I can't see why the local authorities don't buy more properties. The fact that there are more holiday lets doesn't stop properties from coming on the market. So why try and reduce the holiday lets? You don't need to build more properties when there are properties on the market.

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    Ordinarily Holiday Lets would be regearded as great entrepurnurial spirit, bringing tourists into areas that rely on tourism for an income. Further a bleating BBC reporter was sympthasising with young male locals who couldnt get jobs in Cornwall. Soon afterwards another program was showing trawler owners complaining that they couldnt get their trawlers manned and were bringing in men from West africa. Where werre they living ? and why werent the unemployed doing it? Further their is a lot of ASBOs in Cornwal with people getting drunk and causing lots of trouble, Try reading the local papers.

  • icon

    Tricia - My thoughts exactly, if the EPC changes come in as we think then what we have now is simply a taste of what is to come !! I lament at the standard of politician we have, they all appear to totally ignore the obvious impact that their changes will make to the PRS then add even more punitive legislation which then makes more of us sell up and leave the market...... thus limiting even more the rentals available. I see no way out of this spiral downwards other than the BTR model, which will have its own issues in years to come i am sure.

  • icon

    Tricia, Their are 6 million east europeans here, why do we need more? Are you saying they dont get benefits or dont need housing NHS etc.? This number of people require a huge infrastructure.
    Ive just had a very nice hard working polish lady trash one property and used it to breed dogs ! dangerous Dogs! (and worse) I am afraid their are plenty of workshy east europeans, I've met them. I see immigration as being very expensive, for the taxpayer !. Further illegal immigrants are being given 4 star hotel accomodation and lots of goodies.


    What I am saying it is is dangerous and xenophobic not to mention false to blame all our woes on immigration.

  • George Dawes

    Epc = every politician corrupt

    Theodor Cable

    Not too sure that any politician knows what an EPC is!!!!!
    Thick as planks.

  • icon

    Polish & East Europeans are generally very good, keep the place clean and tidy as if it were their own property. I have had Tenants from all over the world over last 43 years, they are among the best and a very good culture, you get to know the one’s to avoid but not allowed to say so or even thinks it. I think it’s that they were reared up properly and appreciate what they get and not expect things for nothing. However, they are bright, intelligent and can quickly learn from the bad influences of the indigenous uk people. Thanks

  • icon

    Edwin Morris - You're totally correct, with an average of 1,000 people per day landing on the south coast, all year long...... 365,000 a year ! It would be foolish to even attempt to say it is not costing the tax payer, we all know it is, and a great deal, but what is the answer ? Boris has talked about getting tough and calling in the RN, What a joke, all they will do is take over from the RNLI as the go to taxi service. The bluster of Bungling Boris knows no bounds, it is a total waste of time, we will do nothing in terms of turning them around because France will not accept our gun boats in their waters with the migrants on board. I simply do not know how this can be sorted, we do not, and have never had, total border security.

  • icon

    I believe most migrants that come are eager to work, the Country is virtually built on migrants, very hard now to find many that don’t have an over sea’s connection including Parliament. Ok let’s talk about State Benefits maybe look a bit closer to home. 5.5 millions on universal credit, 3m on housing benefit, millions more on other benefits, why are we carrying all those people when there is a shortage of people to do the work and several businesses crying out for staff, if they are the entitled and everything provided, not encourage to do anything, therefore the system is wrong,


    Went into Euro Car Parts today to pick up brake pads for my wife's car, big sign up '' staff wanted'' same sign up in Screwfix, I see these signs up all over the place, petrol stations, pubs, cafes etc, so why have we got 5.5 m on UC and 3m on housing benefit, yes Michael the system is very wrong, to easy for the scum scroungers to milk that system

  • icon

    I do agree with all the posts on this subject, we have more than enough of our home grown work shy to fill all the vacancies out there but they do not want the jobs, i can see the advantage to an employer in taking on migrants who will work a lot harder than most born in this country and for a lot less money, but this is not a long term solution...... pay millions of people to do either part time work or nothing at all, whilst at the same time importing people from far flung lands to do the work we already are paying for with the millions of unemployed !!! We are totally mad. I agree that the majority of the migrants who have come here in the past have worked hard and been a benefit, but we cannot continue this forever, whilst supporting an ever growing benefit system sucking dry those of us who have worked since the age of 16. There has been far too much carrot in recent years, we now need more stick, if there is a job the jobless are able to fulfill then they get that job, if they do not want it then the benefits of that person are cut, the next job they turn down, that they are able to do..... their benefit gets cut a little more again, eventually the penny will drop, work not only pays..... you HAVE to do it !

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