United Kingdom

Short lets controversy

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With Christmas around the corner and restrictions on international travel reintroduced, holiday let owners in the UK are enjoying booming demand and rising rents.

The short-term lets sector has grown rapidly over the last several years, and it has also become a more mainstream way to enjoy a holiday: shoppers in search of a last-minute Christmas gift can now pick up Airbnb vouchers at Tesco or Morrisons.

 But detractors say that the growth in short-term lets is costing us dearly. In a recent survey of local authorities, 76% said that housing shortages were getting worse due to landlords converting their properties to short-term lets. The problem is especially serious in popular tourist areas, many of which have also seen house prices spiral. To take an extreme example, Airbnb listings in Ilfracombe, Devon outnumber regular residential rentals 60 to 1.

 Priced-out renters aren’t the only people feeling the downsides. A Swansea politician has called for action after claiming that the insurance policy for an entire block of flats was invalidated by a single Airbnb. Councils have also blamed short-term lets for attracting antisocial behaviour.

 Local authorities across the country are now planning crackdowns on second homes and holiday lets. Cornwall Council has asked the government for permission to charge double council tax on second homes, while the Welsh government wants to prevent homeowners from letting out their properties short-term without planning permission.

 Meanwhile, some let providers are looking at ways to keep revenues local. Earlier this month, a group of Scottish island residents launched a new holiday lettings website to rival international giants like Airbnb. Owners plan to reinvest their commission in local businesses, housing and community projects.

Other short-term let headlines

Threat to agents as Airbnb takes bigger share of long-term renters – Letting Agent Today

Short lets say they’re more pet-friendly than mainstream rentals – Landlord Today

Airbnb hosts ‘bewildered’ by licensing scheme proposal – Scottish Business Insider

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