By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Generation Rent backs Labour bid to regulate Airbnb and Co

Activist group Generation Rent says it’s not convinced about government proposals to increase regulation of holiday lets and short lets - and instead it is backing a proposal put forward by a Labour MP.

Earlier this week the government revealed that it is to open a consultation on whether residential properties in England should require planning consent to be used as short lets via Airbnb and other platforms. It is also likely to give local authorities the powers to introduce a registration scheme for short lets.

The news came in a package of concessions made by the Housing Secretary Michael Gove to Conservative backbench MPs who were angry over planning powers to build new homes.


However, the activist group has come out against this form of regulation, wanting instead a more convoluted system of regulation put forward by backbench Labour MP Rachael Maskell.

Maskell wants councils to be able to issue temporary licences for Airbnb and other short lets, and should have the powers to cap their number. Her Bill on the subject will be debated in the Commons on Friday - but it is thought to have little chance of becoming law.

However the deputy director of Generation Rent, Dan Wilson Craw, backs the Labour proposal over the government’s.

He says: “High nightly rents and the lack of tax and regulation have fuelled an explosion in holiday lets at the expense of people who just need a place to live. In many parts of the country that is forcing people to move away from the places they grew up, and leading to shortages of workers.

“The government is beginning to recognise the need to intervene. However, it is not clear that planning changes are the answer given how limited their impact has been in London. The permanent nature of planning permission would also make properties designated as holiday lets disproportionately more valuable than other properties.

“Instead, councils should have the power to require holiday lets to have a time-limited licence, and cap their number where there is a severe shortage of homes. This would be a more flexible and responsive approach than using the planning system, and would be easier for councils to enforce.”

Wilson Craw claims that England’s housing supply lost nearly 11,000 properties to the second home and holiday let sector between 2021 and 2022 - and he says this continues a trend of homes leaving the residential sector that has accelerated in recent years, and is equivalent in some areas to the loss of more than two per cent of the housing stock between 2019 and 2022. 

A statement from the activist group - which is led by former Labour peer Baroness Alicia Kennedy - says: “Holiday lets face very little regulation, meaning they are a more lucrative option for landlords in tourist hotspots. On Friday, Rachael Maskell MP is introducing a Bill to the Commons that would give local authorities the power to require holiday let operators to obtain a licence in order to let a property to tourists.”

The group claims that between 2021 and 2022, the number of second homes in England increased by 3,556, to 256,913. The number of holiday lets increased by 7,153, to 73,624. 

While this is a similar increase in holiday lets to the 7,102 seen during 2020-21 - when pandemic restrictions on international flights led to a boom in domestic tourism - the growth in second homes has accelerated from 807 in that year.

The list produced by Generation Rent to show the apparent increase in holiday lets and second homes does not tally fully with high value tourist areas. 

So for example Leicester saw the biggest loss of primary homes, mostly to second homes, equivalent to 2.2 per cent of the city’s 2020 housing stock. This was followed by Scarborough, South Hams in Devon, the London borough of Southwark, and Copeland in Cumbria  which - according to Generation Rent’s calculation - all saw more than one per cent of their housing stock move into the second homes and holiday lets sector in the space of three years.

The group says in a statement: “The effective loss of homes serving as primary residences places upward pressure on rents. At a regional level, the East Midlands lost 2.0 in every 1,000 homes to the holiday sector and the South West lost 1.9 in every 1,000 homes between 2019 and 2022. These regions also saw the highest rent inflation in the same period, of 10 per cent, as measured by the ONS. London had the lowest change in homes classed as second homes and holiday lets (0.1 in every 1,000 homes) and the lowest rent inflation in England, of three per cent.”

Want to comment on this story? Our focus is on providing a platform for you to share your insights and views and we welcome contributions.
If any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.
Please help us by reporting comments you consider to be unduly offensive so we can review and take action if necessary. Thank you.

  • George Dawes

    I'm more bothered about the noise etc caused by these air bnb types

    Total disregard for existing neighbours in my experience


    I totally agree. It's been a problem in 2 blocks of flats where I own leasehold properties. Poorly sited Airbnbs are a nightmare for long term residential neighbours

  • icon

    Not like this is a surprise, George gave us S24…. We kicked out tenants and went Airbnb, the law of unintended consequences.

  • icon

    Retarded government think they can fix everything with an ever increasing raft of regulations. If there’s a shortage of rental stock, and they want to fix that - using free market principles, just make it more appealing to run BTLs. Many landlords running Airbnb are earning more but don’t enjoy the hassle, and would willingly go back to single lets if it hadn’t been for all the anti landlord measures that came in over the last 5 years.

    The way they are going, in a decade there will be an even greater shortage of rental properties, with a huge amount of properties sat empty, especially in the poorer areas as landlords will make the assessment that it’s too high risk to rent it out for next to no return, the investment to get to EPC C will be too great, and they won’t be allowed to use the property for anything else.

  • icon

    Mr Dan Wilson Craw is wrong it was Generation Rent, Shelter, THE WHITE PAPER, Scrapping Section 21 and introduction of Section 24.
    The real caused of the Explosion in AirBnB was the result of the Bomb placed under the 1988 Housing Act.

  • icon

    It doesn't matter what you do with your properties, there always seems to be endless red tape, hoops to be jumped through and growing fees, legislation etc.....sometimes it's best to quit whilst you're ahead....that's what I've decided. I have 3 holiday lets and they will be the last ones to go. The residentials....I can't wait to get rid of!


    Well, with the changes to CGT relief, you’ve got no reason to offload them gradually anymore. The great sell off is imminent.

  • icon

    Steve - That is the only upside with the CGT changes, we can evict en-mass and sell the lot 🎉


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up