An MP has introduced a Private Member’s Bill which, if successful, would reduce what she calls the “nightmare” of Airbnb party houses.
Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, says the number of Airbnbs in York is rising, with many rented out as "party houses" and the issue increasingly moving to the suburbs and rural areas as well as the city centre.
Maskell says there are some 2,000 Airbnbs in her constituency, and she has told fellow MPs: "In the city centre, we often find family streets where there are five or six Airbnbs and it is having a serious impact."
She has told local media in York that in one cul-de-sac there is a house advertised on Airbnb as being for 30 people.
"It is at the end of a family residential street, and people in my community have told me that the noise goes on all night … People do not feel safe in their own home any more. I heard from one family who put their house on the market and moved out of the city, which was the only way they could escape the party houses that were increasingly in their area."
If it became law, her Private Member’s Bill, being discussed this week, would make a licence mandatory to turn domestic properties into short-term and holiday-let accommodation, give local authorities the power to issue fines and to remove licences and ban such properties in certain areas.
Maskell has previously blamed the proliferation of short lets in York for higher house prices and making it difficult for first time buyers to get on the property ladder.
She has previously said: “Party groups are coming to the city and we're seeing a big rise in Airbnbs where people are staying, so it's now not just contained in the city centre, it's growing out to the communities where people live.
"People are buying up housing stock, cash in hand, so the chance for first-time buyers trying to get their house is disappearing and it's pushing up the market price."
“I am bringing a focus on the devastation that Hen and Stag parties is bringing to York and why we must pivot to become a leading family friendly city for the sake of residents and our economy. York is better than this.”
News of Maskell’s attempt to change the law comes as Airbnb itself says that its so-called ‘party ban’ - introduced in 2020 at the height of the pandemic - is being made permanent.
The platform claims that there’s been a 63 per cent drop in reports of parties in Airbnb host homes the UK since the temporary ban.
“The ban has been well received by our host community and we’ve received positive feedback from community leaders and elected officials. As we build on this momentum, we believe the time is right to codify this policy” says a statement from Airbnb.
However, at the same time as making the ban permanent Airbnb has scrapped its maximum number of occupants, which was previously 16.
This is apparently “based on feedback from a number of hosts who have listings that can house above 16 people comfortably.”
“Today’s announcement makes clear that there is no place for disruptive parties on Airbnb” says Amanda Cupples, general manager for northern Europe at Airbnb
She continues: “Since being introduced, the ban has led to a reduction in reported incidents and helped minimise the impact of noise and nuisance issues on communities. In the rare event of an issue, our Neighbourhood Support Line allows anyone with concerns in the community to contact someone at Airbnb directly so we can fully investigate.”
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