A review into the effect of short-term lets has been launched by the government.
The government says future policies could involve physical checks of premises to ensure rules on health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed.
Further measures the government is considering include a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme with spot checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety, a self-certification scheme for hosts to register with before they can operate, and better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers.
Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston says: “We’ve seen huge growth in the range of holiday accommodation available over the last few years.
We want to reap the benefits of the boom in short-term holiday lets while protecting community interests and making sure England has high-quality tourist accommodation.”
And housing minister Stuart Andrew adds: “Holiday let sites like Airbnb have helped boost tourism across the country, but we need to make sure this doesn’t drive residents out of their communities.
“We are already taking action to tackle the issue of second and empty homes in some areas by empowering councils to charge up to double the rate of council tax.
“This review will give us a better understanding of how short term lets are affecting housing supply locally to make sure the tourism sector works for both residents and visitors alike.”
The government says Airbnb listing data shows a 33 per cent increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018 and the rise in the use of online platforms for short-term letting has brought many benefits - from an increase in the variety and availability of options to allowing people to make money from renting out spare rooms and properties.
But the government says it understands there can be an impact on housing supply and price in these areas and there are fears caused by evidence of a rise in anti-social behaviour including noise, waste and drunken behaviour in local communities. Lower protections for guests caused by negligence of health and safety regulations are also amidst concerns.
The review will also consider the operation of the provisions in London under the Deregulation Act 2015 to allow for measures to be taken against anti-social behaviour, whilst allowing Londoners to let out their homes.
The Westminster government’s review brings England in line with the devolved administrations.
The Scottish government set out legislation requiring all local authorities in the country to establish a licensing scheme by October 2022. In Northern Ireland tourist accommodation cannot be provided without a valid certificate issued by the national tourist board. And Wales has stated its ambition to establish a statutory registration or licensing scheme.
Merilee Karr - who chairs the Short Term Accommodation Association - says: “Short term and holiday rentals play an increasingly important role in the English tourism economy by contributing significant numbers of jobs in local communities and generating valuable sources of income for local homeowners and businesses.
“Any new regulatory solution should recognise this contribution and seek to support the industry as an important part of the wider UK tourism sector.”
Details of the review and call for evidence can be found here.
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