A body largely consisting of councils in Devon wants more controls over Airbnbs and other short lets. The Devon Housing Commission has written to Housing Secretary Michael Gove demanding two key legislative changes:
- The requirement for registration of short-term lettings, in order to establish the facts.
- The requirement for a change of use planning consent for any new short-term letting: this would enable each local authority to determine how many more holiday lettings of this kind should be acreated in their area.
The commission is a partnership between 11 local authorities and supported by the University of Exeter. It claims there’s been an increase of over 10 per cent in second homes across Devon since 2021.
It says it wants to limit growth of short-term lets by private landlords and companies, while still enabling people to supplement their income by letting rooms in their own homes.
It says there is widespread concern in Devon at the number of properties being switched from longer-term to short-term lettings, which is severely impacting local people in need of a rented home. The Commission believes this switching is a key reason for the fall of 50 per cent in private lettings across the county and by as much as 67 per cent in North Devon.
The commission's proposals have been welcomed by some local residents and businesses, but have been criticized by others who say they will stifle tourism and economic growth.
The government is currently considering the commission's proposals.
What do you think? Should there be more controls over short lets?
Here are some of the pros and cons of more controls over short lets:
- Could help to reduce the number of properties being switched from longer-term to short-term lettings, which would make more homes available for local people.
- Could help to bring down rents, as there would be less competition for rental properties.
- Could help to improve the quality of accommodation available for short-term lets, as landlords would need to comply with stricter regulations.
- Could stifle tourism and economic growth, as people would be less likely to visit places where there are strict controls on short lets.
- Could be difficult to enforce, as it can be hard to track down illegal short lets.
- Could lead to a loss of jobs in the tourism industry.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to introduce more controls over short lets is a complex one with no easy answers. It is important to weigh up the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.
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