Landlords ‘evict tenants’ to convert homes to Airbnb | United Kingdom | New

At Scarborough Council’s cabinet meeting held today, July 26, they discussed a newly released report which suggests private landlords in the borough have been evicting tenants so they can use their properties as Airbnb vacation rentals. The council’s performance management report for the fourth quarter of 2021/22 says a “perfect storm” of events has reduced the availability of rented private properties in the area.

According to the report, at least 89 households were living in “all types of temporary accommodation” while 33 households were living in B&B temporary accommodation, reports Yorkshire Live.

The report states: “Council is dependent on the use of the private rental sector to meet demand, however, officers are reporting a significant drop in the availability of private rental sector accommodation in the borough.

“We have also seen examples of private landlords evicting tenants in order to convert [them] in Airbnb and vacation rentals.”

Speaking at the meeting, Cabinet Member for Housing and Stronger Communities, Councilor Carl Maw, commented on the report saying: “I think it’s something we already suspected, but it reinforces the argument that we have serious problems within the borough regarding affordable housing.”

He added that an “over-reliance” of advice on the private sector was “probably not the best idea”, underlining the need for intervention.

Cllr Maw said: “As we can see it is market forces that are causing a lot of problems in the council, not the council itself”.

At the same meeting, cabinet members also agreed to push forward plans to renew a scheme in North Scarborough which requires private landlords to apply for a license to rent out their properties.

According to the council, the five-year scheme which ended in June had “a very positive impact in terms of improving ownership conditions” of let properties in the license area.

Council leader Cllr Steve Siddons also addressed the lack of housing in the borough, expressing support for a new law proposed by Labor MP for York Rachael Maskell which would require licenses for the conversion of domestic properties into short-term accommodation and vacation rentals

‘I would support this and in fact I am about to write to our two local MPs asking for their support when it comes to Parliament later in the year,’ Cllr Siddons said.

“There are limits to the things we can do about it at the moment, but we need to strengthen our hand when it comes to this.”

Cllr Maw added that there were “many measures Parliament could consider”, including a scheme similar to that introduced by the Welsh Government giving councils the power to charge council tax up to 300 per cent on second homes from 2023.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently considering proposals to introduce a 100% premium for council tax bills on second homes “to help tackle the affordable housing crisis in the county”.

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