Liverpool seek to toughen up Airbnb

The City Council is stepping up its push to introduce restrictions on unregulated short-term rentals with a motion which, if passed, would see the council ask the government to create a separate class of use.

Airbnb, the sector’s dominant operator, has been criticized in a variety of ways in recent years, with tourist towns such as Lisbon and Barcelona taking steps to put apartments back on a much-stressed long-term rental market, while rentals of “party houses” have created negative coverage – the company itself has now put in place plans to limit rentals to under 25s who receive negative reviews.

This is the party home market that Liverpool are looking to tackle. A motion by Cllr Alan Tormey seeks to address what is mentioned in documents prepared ahead of the council’s housing select committee this week as a ‘headache’.

Cllr Tormey made a similar motion in November 2019, but the motion fell through and was not debated – according to council rules, a six-month gap must elapse before it can be resubmitted. In the new motion, he asks the committee to take note of concerns raised by residents and local businesses about unregulated short-term rentals, including noise, waste management and anti-social behavior issues; the impact on the residential market, with fewer properties available for rental; and the impact on the licensed hotel and bed and breakfast sector.

If the committee is in agreement, the council’s cabinet member for housing – Deputy Mayor Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan – will write to the relevant government ministers and Liverpool MPs asking for an amendment to the Planning Act to create a separate use classification for short-term vacation rentals, similar to that used for multi-occupancy homes – there is a further call for a licensing regime to be put in place to improve management practices around rentals.

The committee would also seek powers to allow councils to apply an enforceable exception to such classification, allowing residential premises to be used as temporary sleeping accommodation for up to 90 days, as has been pursued in Greater London.

Cllr Tormey’s request is that the question be asked whether Airbnb premises should be subject to the business rate system, again echoing situations in other tourist hotspots where guests paying the tourist tax , or “tourist tax”, have been a point of contention.

Comments are closed.