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Too many Airbnbs? Councils should control numbers, say activists

Housing campaigners want the government  to give English councils planning power to refuse Airbnbs

Action on Short-Term Lets, a campaign group, has launched a campaign for English councils to have the right to refuse the conversion of entire homes into Airbnbs or other short lets.

The campaign is calling on people to respond to a government consultation on a registration scheme for short-term lets which closes tomorrow, September 21.


The activists claim that the numbers of residential houses being converted into short term accommodation for tourists in England is on the rise, and say this is depriving communities of much needed homes for local people in many popular tourism destinations. 

Whilst both the Scottish and Welsh governments have introduced measures that allow councils to ban the conversion of residential houses into entire house short term lets, the English government has yet to act.

Will McMahon, director of Action on Empty Homes, says: “The majority of listings are not hosts letting out spare rooms in their own homes, but are for whole houses.  This sucks properties out of the housing market, reduces housing for locals, fragments communities, and displaces long term renters where landlords switch to short-term letting.  

“Ultimately, the consequences are less housing and increased costs for renters and buyers alike.”

Isaac Rose, organiser at the Greater Manchester Tenants Union - closely connected with the anti-short let’s campaign - adds: “Whilst licensing would improve standards and conditions, much more is needed to curb the damaging effects that short-term lets are having on housing supply, and the erosion of local communities. We need to give councils the power to refuse whole house conversions to Airbnb lets.”

Action on Short-Term Lets says it will be calling a national meeting of all interested groups later in 2022.

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    It's bizarre that whole house Airbnbs have been encouraged to occur with no regulation and have distorted the housing and holiday markets in the process. In some areas the negative impact on neighbouring residents, prospective tenants and established holiday accommodation providers has been huge.

    Councils are very quick to introduce punitive fees and licensing schemes for HMOs, which provide much needed affordable long term housing for single people, on the basis of maintaining balanced communities and minimising anti social behaviour.
    Then the government create a tax incentive for houses to be used as Airbnbs, which removes desperately needed long term housing from the rental market and introduces far more ASB into communities than the vast majority of well run HMOs ever would.

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    Have to say I can see merit in this.

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    The solution is to give better tax incentives for long term letting, not punish short term lettings needlessly although the same safety measures required by hotels and HMO properties must be mandatory in short term rentals and the £7.5 k tax free allowance should only be for long term rent a room, not for short term rentals.


    Agreed. I have a number of short term let’s purely as a consequence of Section 24. Remove that and I’ll turn them back to BTL. … simples!

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    I was going to convert a number of BTL to short term lets but having seen that the government and the activist gangs are are determined to use the same tactics as they inflicted on victims in the BTL sector , these properties will be sold and the proceeds used to provide homes in Europe
    Clearly the complete and total removal of any human rights by an increasingly totalitarian and thuggish regime is a grave concern it is obvious people homes will be next the only rights we will have is to


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