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Council hits Airbnb whole-house lets with huge waste charges

A controversial Labour council aims to make life more expensive for landlords who let out whole properties via Airbnb or other short let platforms.

Oxford council, which recently started a five year landlord licensing scheme across the entire city boundary,  is next week considering a proposal to start charging for waste collections at whole house short lets registered as commercial businesses.

This move would follow the example of councils including Scarborough, Isle of Wight, Dorset and Hampshire and would mean that such properties would no longer be provided with a free domestic waste collection.


If cabinet approves the proposals, the council will notify the owners of whole house short lets registered as businesses and either agree a commercial waste contract with them or complete the removal of domestic waste containers by the end of the year. Enforcement action against non-compliant short lets registered as businesses will begin in 2023.

The council, citing the short lets monitoring service AirDNA, claims there are 1,591 active short let rentals in Oxford. More than half of these – 869, or 55 per cent – are let as entire properties. 

To date 104 properties in Oxford have stopped paying council tax and registered as self-catering holiday businesses. 

There is no requirement for short lets to be licensed or for landlords to automatically notify the council when a property has been converted into a short let.

The council also claims that it is difficult to take action on issues like antisocial behaviour and nuisance when there is a stream of different people using a property.

Since 2018, the council has repeatedly called for the government to introduce effective regulation of short lets. It says that councils should have more powers enabling them to take action without needing to rely on complaints and a lengthy enforcement process.

A spokeswoman says: “We first called for powers to regulate short lets in 2018 because we believe the uncontrolled loss of permanent homes in the city to holiday letting accommodation will only exacerbate Oxford’s housing crisis.

“The government needs to act to ensure there’s a proper level playing field with the rest of the rental market and other highly regulated commercial businesses. Until then, we will continue to use our planning enforcement powers against unauthorised change of planning use class, and we are now removing this unfair advantage of free waste collection for whole house short lets that are registered as businesses. They will need to organise a commercial waste agreement contract just like other businesses in the city; it’s only fair as these properties avoid paying council tax.”

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  • icon

    'would mean that such properties would no longer be provided with a free domestic waste collection'.

    I didn't realise waste collections were free. I thought it was paid for in the council tax!


    To be fair it does say those that have stopped paying c tax as they've registered as businesses.


    That's the point.
    Some Airbnb properties are classed as businesses and don't pay Council Tax. The local council simply doesn't receive any revenue towards their refuse collection. Other businesses have to pay for waste collection.
    So the Airbnbs are literally getting it for free.
    It's different for houses that are Council Tax exempt, such as student houses, because the government compensates the Councils for those houses.

  • icon

    On the one hand I agree with Oxford council. If they're not paying for the service why should they receive the service?

    On the other hand I'm not sure refuse collection is the best way forward from a public health and rodent infestation point of view.

  • icon

    Andrew -Correct 👍🏻… but, the commercial waste charges are a lot higher 😬 just another nail in the ole coffin ⚰️


    We're constantly being told the profits for Airbnb style letting are much higher.
    Hardly surprising if they're freeloading off the rest of us.


    If you are running your AirBnB as a full time Bed and Breakfast then is should require a change of use planning application to change it from residential to a business. At this point it should become liable for business rates and any associated relief. The property might also be liable for non domestic utility services. It is only a matter of time before LCC's and Govt catch up with so called disruptive peer to peer technology that allows once peaceful residential streets to become a merry go round of tourists. The problem for Local Council is that if they regulate for change of use it might result in lower tax income, as Short Term Rental owner operators switch from council tax to business rates and end up with Small Business Rate relief.... blah blah

  • icon

    About time. Holiday lets have huge tax advantages.


    I don't think it will happen, and if it does it wont make any difference, since as they say, on 104 of 1600 properties have chosen to apply for change of use. The remainder are unlicensed and unregulated, and the council have no enforcement powers. Regulation needs to come from National Goverment. RealNeighbours for RealNeighbourhoods

    To date 104 properties in Oxford have stopped paying council tax and registered as self-catering holiday businesses.

    There is no requirement for short lets to be licensed or for landlords to automatically notify the council when a property has been converted into a short let.(/quote)

  • icon

    I thought that holiday lets, being a business, have always had to pay for commercial waste disposal?


    The governmnent have really dropped the ball and have been slow to react on a national level to the Short Term Holiday rental peer to peer disruptive technology. Wales and Scotland and central london have their own evolving regulations, but that's just to start. There are some interesting reads on RealNeighbours DOT com

  • icon

    Why did some stop paying c/tax anyway who did they think should pay for removing their rubbish, so serves them right if they now have to pay more.
    C/tax such an unfair system anyhow say just 2 people living in a house pay full c-tax same as 6-8 sometimes more with their bins over flowing, all residential property c/tax should be halved paid by the owner, the other half should be paid by every adult individual, everyone should pay something.


    Bring back Maggie's Community Charge where every adult paid their fair share towards Council services.

    As said above, Airbnb properties can be exempt from both Council Tax - but also from Business Rates so they should be charged the full cost of any service used.

  • icon

    In fairness if it's a business it's commercial waste, how do they charge a bed & breakfast property ?


    A bed and breakfast would be slightly different as the owner or manager actually live in it. So it is someone's residence. A whole house Airbnb is a business activity. No one lives in it as a long term residence.

  • George Dawes

    Business rates is an even bigger con , they charge you extra to take your rubbish away !


    I wish everyone got charged separately for getting their rubbish taken away, for educating their children, looking after their elderly relatives etc.

    I'm fed up paying for loads of things which I don't need or use, apart from the Health Service, although that needs a dose of modernisation and management capable of running such a large organisation much more efficiently.

  • icon
    • S S
    • 08 September 2022 15:31 PM

    It seems fair that an AirBnB run as a business shoudl pay for collection of rubbish. That collection is integral to their business and they are charging visitors for to use the house but then not paying the council to take away the rubbish their business is generating. I'm not sure that it is fair that residential households shoudl be subsidising residential holiday lets. In the same way, I think that a 3 bed residential house turned into a proefssional 5 bed HMO should be charged more for the council run services as 5 adults living separately (but together) produce more rubbish than a family. Converted and let as a professional HMO, the propery generates significantly higher income than if it let as a traditinoal family home. Costs need to be shared fairly across all forms of residential lets - be they short-term, traditional or HMO.


    You are 100% correct. The government need to catch up with regulating Short Term Holiday let, they can be a real blight on local communities. RealNeighbours for Real communities is what we need. Write to your local government with your grievances. The fact is property developers are buying large amounts of residential property in desirable holiday destinations and converting them into Ghost Hotels and Short Term Rentals without any planning permission or building regulations, electrical or gas testing, PAT testing, fire alarms etc. Genuine hospitality enterprises jump through hoops whereby all these tax evaders have to do is register for an AirBnB account. REALNEIGHBOURS dot COM


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