Crackdown on second home owners as Tories propose Airbnb BAN | Politics | News

Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove is considering the move in response to concerns that short-term rentals are driving up house prices in many communities across the country.

The Secretary of Upgrading, Housing and Communities is believed to be considering giving regional mayors new powers to ban properties from being used as short-term rentals.

An amendment to the Leveling and Regeneration Bill could be used to introduce the measures.

Bob Seely, Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, said: ‘We need to find a way to protect communities and we are looking for sensible ideas that can help.

“Places like Devon, Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Lake District have lived too long with the problem of communities hollowed out and devoid of life outside of a few months of the year.

“What we need are creative ideas to solve some of these problems.”

Beach towns are among tourism hotspots where locals are increasingly complaining about short-term rentals driving up property prices.

Earlier this week Councilors in Brighton and Hove decided to become the first municipal authority in the UK to take action against second home owners and holiday lettings.

Their action came after a flurry of property buying in the wake of the covid pandemic pushed property prices over £500,000.

Brighton and Hove councilors have voted to ask officials to draw up proposals that will ban new construction of second homes and holiday rentals in certain areas.

A city council report found that more than 3,000 properties in the city were suspected of being used as short-term vacation rentals.

In January, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation allowing local authorities to set up a paid registration system allowing landlords to rent properties on sites such as Airbnb.

Last September, Cornwall Council revealed that almost 62 per cent of a total of £170million in business support claimed by second home owners during the pandemic went to owners living outside the county.

A government spokesman did not deny the plans were under consideration.

The spokesperson said: “We have already taken steps to give communities greater capacity to manage the impact second homes can have in some places.

“These include closing tax loopholes, introducing higher stamp duty and allowing councils to levy higher council tax on second homes.

“Secondary residences can also make a valuable contribution to the local economy, especially in tourist areas.

“As part of our tourism recovery plan, we will consult to understand the impact of the increase in short-term and holiday rentals available in England.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities said: ‘We are taking action to address the negative impact second homes can have on local communities – particularly in tourist areas such as Cornwall – by closing tax loopholes, introducing higher rates of stamp duty and empowering municipalities to apply a tax increase of up to 100% on second homes.

“The South West is also receiving £1billion through the Affordable Housing Scheme and since 2010 we have delivered 63,500 affordable homes in the area.”

A statement from Airbnb said: “There is a big difference between buy-to-let speculators and hosts who occasionally share their homes on Airbnb to meet the rising cost of living.

“The majority of hosts share a single listing for just two nights a month, and around a third say the extra income helps them cope with rising costs of living and make ends meet.

“Airbnb supports the regulations and has already put forward proposals for a host registry, which the government is consulting on.”

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