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Activists want tougher Labour-style clampdown on Airbnb landlords

The Generation Rent activist group says the government’s proposed clampdown on short let landlords does not go far enough.

At the end of last week the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities launched a formal consultation that planning consent would be required for an existing home to be used as a short let.

The government consultation includes another option - whether to give owners flexibility to let their home for up to a specified number of nights in a calendar year without the need for planning permission.


Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the planning changes would be introduced through secondary legislation later in the year and would apply in England only.

Meanwhile another government division - the Department for Culture Media and Sport  - has launched a separate consultation proposing a new mandatory registration scheme for short lets.

Those suggestions don’t go far enough for Dan Wilson Craw, a spokesperson for Generation Rent, who says: “The growth of holiday lets has reduced the availability of homes for locals in areas with large tourist economies. The government has rightly recognised that the sector needs regulating. 

“A register … is essential but these planning proposals will not reverse the recent trend. 

"Under the government's plans, existing holiday lets - including homes that tenants were evicted from to make way for tourists - would get automatic planning permission. 

“And few landlords would apply to revert their property to residential use: because it is more lucrative to rent to tourists than to tenants, properties with planning permission for holiday lets will suddenly become more valuable than regular houses. 

"The planning proposals might help ensure that future homes built in holiday hotspots are lived in by locals, but compared with the rapid loss of homes in recent years, it will take a long time to restore balance to the rental market, and people will continue to be priced out of the areas they grew up in.

"To avoid locking in the recent loss of homes, and push houses back into the residential market, the government should give councils powers to require holiday lets to have licences. Licences would expire after a set period, and councils with severe housing shortages could place caps on how many could be issued and renewed."

Generation Rent’s preferred licensing proposal is very similar to one put forward last summer by Labour’s shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy.

From next month the new director of Generation Rent will be Ben Twomey.

Twomey has a Labour pedigree, being the Labour and Co-Operative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Warwickshire in recent elections to the post. 

He is also a long-standing member of the Labour Homelessness Campaign and recently gave his backing to a Labour councillor seeking to become the prospective parliamentary candidate for a constituency in Northampton.

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    If I currently owned a property in one of the popular holiday sites, I would not have it rented out on an AST, it would have been an Airbnb all the way… I guess this is why they are looking to tighten down.

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    He's right that "properties with planning permission for holiday lets will suddenly become more valuable than regular houses". We've certainly seen that for the last decade with HMOs in Article 4 areas.

    The whole thing is an example of unintended consequences for a string of government interference.
    Section 24 on traditional BTL so landlords turn to short lets.
    Proposal to abolish Section 21 so landlords turn to short lets.
    Lockdowns and travel restrictions so there's suddenly a much bigger market for UK holiday accommodation.

    Does anyone seriously think most landlords would prefer the extra work and uncertainty of short lets if the government and activists hadn't been so hostile towards traditional BTL?

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    I really would love to hear counter arguments from landlord bodies including the NRLA and its Scottish equivalent. UK landlord bodies need to step up and provide a sound and coherent policy to counter the utopian ideas of the left. The UK is turning (if not there already) very woke. This has to be addressed for the sake of honesty and normality. Why is all this anti-landlord sentiment being allowed?


    Because the public don’t like us and say nothing, there is an element of envy in with it all, but the public simply see us as the problem.

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    They only have little over a yr to wait, labour will be in power and will give them everything they demand

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    I mistakenly thought Generation Rent and Ben Twomey wanted to help to the homeless not create even more, how wrong I was.

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    Assured Tenancies were always there if landlords wanted forever Tenancies they would have taken them but now we are been forced to have them.
    Only a handful of landlords had them that I knew about and they were letting to Housing Association's on 10 year Contracts.
    Assured Shorthold Tenancies were supposed to be minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 7 years before they started all this giggery pokery.

  • George Dawes

    Wonder what wages he’s on

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    George, you are never far out not least about the flower boxes traffic creating Schemes.
    London at a standstill deliberately, 20 MPH. Scores of roads blocked off, others turned into duel carriageway bike Lanes but not a bicycle to be seen. Government set aside £3.2 b to do this damage & each Council claim from the pot. Council’s raking in Millions from fines for breaches because its so intolerable for drivers , yet no one to fill a pot holes or held responsible for the billions waste in recent years on laying sub-standard Asphalt.
    Its part of a Plan in London to create conditions (traffic at standstill) to make the introduction of ULEZ more

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    Short term let's attract occupants that add to the local economy. If this income is not received via this means then councils will be forced to increase council tax. It will also have a negative impact on small businesses.


    Do you think that they care about that?
    Here in Wales we are closed for business anyway.


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