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Consultation starts on ban for HMOs to become Airbnbs

A six week consultation is now underway as a council bids to stop HMOs being used as Airbnb or other short lets.

There are an estimated 1,100 HMOs in North Devon and 1,867 businesses registered as having holiday units, and North Devon council’s strategy and resources committee has already agreed that HMOs should not be let out as holiday accommodation and was advised by officers to go to consultation.

But the consultation almost didn’t happen. 


Liberal Democrat councillors David Clayton and Graham Bell claimed there was no legal requirement to consult, so the rules should change immediately.

“Let’s show everyone we mean business on this. There is a huge depth of feeling over the lack of rented properties. Something needs to be done about it” Clayton is quoted in the local media as saying.

Bell is quoted: “I am very much against a consultation. Once the landlords of the HMOs start talking to each other, they are very likely to pull out and just use their properties for holiday lets.”

However council chairperson Ian Roome  - another Liberal Democrat - told the authority that to be in the clear legally it should consult and “show that we are listening to people’s views.”

The council says the risks involved in short-term holiday lets in HMOs as well as a reduction in privately rented rooms for residents are:

- Safeguarding and security risks because of the transient nature of Airbnb guests;

- The potential for violence and antisocial behaviour as Airbnb guests may not be as stringently vetted as permanent residents;

- Increased risk of fire as PAT testing of appliances can’t be enforced with Airbnb guests; and 

- Reduction in the availability of private rented properties for local residents.

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    The reason there is a shortage of accommodation is down to the council itself, ie its planning department. Planning control is the major cause of the shortage of accommodation. Blaming HMO landlord for the shortage is just a diversion from the councils own incompetence.

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    The Council is correct to be concerned about safeguarding issues but with the abolition of fixed tenancies the HMO landlords will be unable to prevent short term let's.
    HMOs are already furnished so there will be nothing stopping people moving in just for a few days. Even if they had to give 2 months notice it would still be a cheap holiday. HMO rent is around £500 to £650 per month in Barnstaple . Hotel rooms are mainly over £100 a night.


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