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New Airbnbs could be blocked by councils under new powers in bid to stop communities from being ‘hollowed out’


Town halls will be handed powers to block homes from being turned into Airbnb properties under a crackdown to stop communities being ‘hollowed out’.

The overhaul by ministers is designed to stop excessive numbers of homes becoming short-term holiday lets and exacerbating the housing crisis in hotspots such as Cornwall.

A new planning category will be created for such properties with council officials able to refuse permission.

It is also hoped the shake-up will help tackle the issue of Airbnbs being used as noisy party houses, with a new national register being launched for potentially black-listing owners who fail to comply with certain regulations.

The new rules will apply to properties which aren’t used by the owners as their main home.

Town halls will be handed powers to block homes from being turned into Airbnb properties under a crackdown to stop communities being 'hollowed out' (Stock Image)

Town halls will be handed powers to block homes from being turned into Airbnb properties under a crackdown to stop communities being ‘hollowed out’ (Stock Image)

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: ¿These changes will ensure people have more control over housing in their cherished communities'

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘These changes will ensure people have more control over housing in their cherished communities’

Homeowners will still be able to rent out their properties for up to 90 nights a year without planning permission if it is their main or sole home.

The Government has finished consulting on the proposals, it announced last night, and is aiming to introduce them from this summer.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘These changes will ensure people have more control over housing in their cherished communities.

‘We know short-term lets can be helpful for the tourist economy, but we are now giving councils the tools to bring them under control…These changes strike a balance between giving local people access to more affordable housing, while ensuring the visitor economy continues to flourish.’

Tourism Minister Julia Lopez added: ‘Short-term lets provide flexibility for homeowners and give tourists more accommodation options than ever before, but this should not prevent local people from being able to buy or rent homes in their area.

‘The Government is committed to getting the balance right to ensure both local people and our visitor economy can thrive.’

Tourism Minister Julia Lopez said: ¿Short-term lets provide flexibility for homeowners and give tourists more accommodation options than ever before, but this should not prevent local people from being able to buy or rent homes in their area'

Tourism Minister Julia Lopez said: ‘Short-term lets provide flexibility for homeowners and give tourists more accommodation options than ever before, but this should not prevent local people from being able to buy or rent homes in their area’

Thousands of properties in England have been ‘flipped’ into short-term lets since the Covid-19 pandemic, official figures show.

It has sparked warnings that coastal communities up and down the country are being ‘hollowed out irretrievably’ with such properties often empty for much of the year.

The proposed changes would see a new planning ‘use class’ created for short-term lets not used as a sole or main home.

Existing dedicated short-term lets will automatically be reclassified into the new class and will not require a planning application.

Two new permitted development rights will also be created – one allowing for a property to be changed from a short-term let to a standard residential dwelling, with a second allowing a home to be changed to a short-term let.

Local authorities would be able to remove these permissions and require full planning permission if they deem it necessary to help strike the balance between boosting tourism and protecting communities from being hollowed out.

The overhaul by ministers is designed to stop excessive numbers of homes becoming short-term holiday lets and exacerbating the housing crisis in hotspots such as Cornwall

The overhaul by ministers is designed to stop excessive numbers of homes becoming short-term holiday lets and exacerbating the housing crisis in hotspots such as Cornwall

The new rules will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

The changes are part of the Government’s long-term plan to unlock more homes and meet the target of delivering one million by the end of this Parliament.

Airbnb welcomed the overhaul and said it was ‘good news for everyone’.

Amanda Cupples, of Airbnb, said: ‘We have long led calls for the introduction of a Host register and we look forward to working together to make it a success.’

Linda Taylor, Tory leader of Cornwall Council, said: ‘We’ve been asking for the powers to help stem the escalating numbers of short-term lets in many of Cornwall’s beautiful towns and villages.

‘I was delighted that the Secretary of State took the time to visit Cornwall last Thursday to hear first-hand from residents about the impact those increased numbers of holiday lets are having on local communities, and therefore I very much welcome today’s announcement.’

She added that the new measures would ‘help rebalance Cornwall’s housing market and allow us to provide even more decent and secure homes for local people and help all our communities to thrive.’



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