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Activist campaign to limit homes used for Airbnb-style short lets

A new campaign has been launched calling for the regulation of Airbnb and other short lets in England.

Action on Short Term Lets is reported to be the brainchild of two existing activist groups, Action on Empty Homes and Greater Manchester Tenants Union. 

Reported so far only in the Big Issue magazine, the new campaign says it wants to end the current situation where councils in England cannot regulate Airbnbs because short-lets are in the same planning class as ordinary homes. 


The new campaign wants planning reforms, a licensing system and a ‘right to refuse’ new listings - a regime similar to that coming into effect next month in Scotland, and is under discussion in Wales.

The current Action on Empty Homes campaign argues that there is evidence from cities such as Manchester that the proliferation of short lets is typically associated with “neighbourhood gentrification, community displacement and skyrocketing rents”. 

It says: “Action On Empty homes is continuing its work on the on the phenomenon of 'Airbnbification': the process by which Airbnb lets overtake housing markets. Cities worldwide have been affected by the expanding market for short-term lets, and many residents in highly touristed communities have been displaced as a result.”

Action on Empty Homes is also majoring on getting opponents of short lets to respond to a government consultation on the issue, which has another three weeks to run.

In the consultation the UK government outlines possible measures to control Airbnbs and other short lets in England. 

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 under consideration 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.”

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.

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    A lot of the offences reported here should be covered by the police.

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    I have thought for a while that the government will start to target the short term let market, the attack on the PRS is relentless.

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    Big Issues Boss done rather well, £ 4 u £ 4 me £ for him.

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    Airbnb is a nightmare in buildings converted into flats. Drunk holiday makers crashing around a building mainly occupied by long term working tenants is not a good mix.



    I totally agree but the activists now complaining shoulder much of the blame along with George Osborne.


    My father let throughout the 1970s and 80s when the Rent Acts were in force to short-term visitors for months at a time, and not on one occasion was there any anti-social behaviour or noise.

    The flats were advertised in the Evening Standard and there were always dozens of applicants for one flat. He was able to choose the most suitable tenants, and there were no problems.


    Ellie - months at a time is different to a weekend to attend a Stag do.

    Having a group of drunk men in a third floor 2 bedroom flat rampaging through the building accosting single young female occupants of the other flats is not a pleasant situation. It's breaching the lease anyway but each booking is so short term it's over before whatever steps can be taken.


    You are right about that, Jo, but the campaign doesn't distinguish between quiet, professional short term visitors who want to rent for several months and the hooligans that you describe.


    And a bigger problem actually are the groups of young people who share flats on a long-term basis and are behaving all the time like drunken holiday makers, and constantly making neighbours' lives a misery.


    Ellie the lack of distinguishing between different types of tenants is always the problem.

    Tenants are always portrayed as being angelic, poverty stricken, victims who have never done anything wrong in their entire life.

    In reality they come in dozens of different formats.


    That is very true, as well, Jo.

    I just think that the private rental sector cannot be forced into being an extension of the social housing sector so that landlords are compelled to house people on an indefinite or permanent basis.

    There is a role for a rental sector which houses people who want and need short term accommodation. That sector shouldn't be destroyed by an argument about anti-social behaviour which is often totally inapplicable to the circumstances or the tenants involved.

  • Neil Moores

    As I have repeatedly stated on this forum. The government loves airbnb. That's why the tax regime favours airbnb and discriminates against people who rent properties out as homes.

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    Take the pain out of being a traditional landlord and all these woes will go away.

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    • G W
    • 01 September 2022 09:51 AM

    At this rate we are turning into a Communist State with Governments taking over control of property!.....this is a useful forum as are others but Ive made my mind up to sell as at an age I want to spend the money rather than pay it in an increased CGT as I cant see it reducing.......beating the devil landlord appears a vote winner.

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    G W - Sensbible enough, right or wrong they have got it in for us, depending on where you are in your life plan will depend on what you wish or are able to do. I appear to be in a similar position to you, so am firming up my selling plans for the lot, better being spent by me when alive than by the kids when i am 6 feet under.

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    They are not listening to. I think they are laughing their heads off at us, no input no responsibility’s cream off Thousands, let that be a clear warning to you we’ll be back for more.


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