Lake District village tourist trap where only one in ten properties have a local living there

They eventually found a place, but immediately after moving in they discovered there was severe damp mold, with a six foot by four foot stain on the ceiling, according to Miss Grady. When the owner hesitated to fix it, she began looking for another home, a search that this time lasted six years.

“Because rental properties are so few and far between, they always have you by the short and the loops,” she says. “If you move, there are 20 or 30 people who will move in.”

All of this may sound superficially to the benefit of tourists, who have more properties available to stay, but Debbie Lumsden, a 52-year-old manager of a bar in Bowness, a town just south of Ambleside, argues it’s is not.

Last summer, the Cumbria Tourist Board found that 85 per cent of hotel businesses were struggling to find enough staff as nationwide labor issues caused by the pandemic and Brexit added to the local problems in the lakes.

Lumsden says you couldn’t believe ‘the number of complaints I got from tourists saying they couldn’t dine anywhere’ last summer, and pubs had to ‘close some of the worst days. Busiest of the year because they just didn’t have enough staff.

Living without any neighbors

“We cannot bring people into the village because there is nowhere to live,” she says. “A friend in Windermere has no neighbors and she lives on a street with 10 houses… They’re all Airbnbs.”

Ms Lumsden had her own struggles finding a home last year after her landlord asked her to leave so he could turn her home into a holiday rental. After a frantic and unsuccessful search with estate agents, she considered quitting her job and leaving the Lake District to return to live with her mother.

Luckily a friend was moving out of Bowness and she was able to move straight into her flat before it was advertised.

Mr Farron suggested a seven-point plan to tackle the problem, starting with changing the law so that landlords would have to apply for planning permission to turn a property into a second home or vacation rental.

Another proposal is to close tax loopholes, which currently allow second home owners to avoid paying council tax. At present, many second home owners are paying the lowest business rates instead, whether or not they have rented out their properties – all they have to do is declare their intention to do so.

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