Government launches review of short-term tourist accommodation

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  • The open call for papers aims to understand the impact of the increase in short-term holiday rentals in England following the increase in the use of rental booking websites and apps

  • The review will focus on the market as well as the opportunities and challenges presented to consumers and tourism communities

  • Airbnb listing data showed a 33% increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018

A review of the effect of short-term vacation rentals will aim to improve the vacation rental market for people living in popular tourist destinations.

The scheme, proposed in a new government review looking at the impact of rising short-term and holiday rentals in England, could involve physical checks of premises to ensure compliance with regulations in areas such as health and safety. safety, noise and anti-social behavior.

Other measures being considered by the government include a “kitemark” registration system with spot checks on compliance with the rules on issues such as gas safety, a self-certification system allowing hosts to register before to be able to operate, and better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

We have seen enormous growth in the range of holiday accommodation available over the past few years.

We want to reap the benefits of the short-term holiday rental boom while protecting community interests and ensuring England has high quality tourist accommodation.

Although no decision has been made, this review will help us determine what options to consider in order to protect our beloved communities and our thriving holiday industry.

Minister of Housing, Rt. Hon. Stuart Andrew said:

Vacation rental sites like Airbnb have helped boost tourism across the country, but we need to make sure that doesn’t drive residents away from their communities.

We are already taking steps to address second and empty homes in some areas by allowing councils to charge up to double the council tax rate.

This review will allow us to better understand how short-term rentals affect local housing supply to ensure the tourism sector works for both residents and visitors.

Airbnb listing data showed a 33% increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018 and the increased use of online platforms for short-term rentals has brought many benefits – d an increase in the variety and availability of options for people to make money from renting out spare rooms and properties.

Almost three-quarters of people (72%) told Airbnb in its Green Tourism Report that the environmental benefits of homesharing played a role in their choice to travel using this platform. A separate report from the company in 2018 stated that a typical UK host on its platform earned an average of £3,100 per year.

But the government understands there may be an impact on the supply and price of housing in these areas and there are fears caused by evidence of an increase in anti-social behavior including noise, waste and l drunkenness in local communities. Inferior protections for customers caused by neglect of health and safety regulations are also a major concern.

The review will also examine the operation of provisions in London under the Deregulation Act 2015 to allow action to be taken against anti-social behaviour, while allowing Londoners to rent their accommodation.

The decentralized administrations have taken measures in this area. The Scottish Government has established legislation requiring all local authorities in the country to establish a licensing system by October 2022. In Northern Ireland, tourist accommodation cannot be provided without a valid certificate issued by the National Board of tourism. Wales has publicly stated its ambition to establish a statutory registration or licensing system.

And in other countries anyone wishing to advertise and provide accommodation in Portugal must register electronically before doing so, Greece requires anyone renting their home to paying guests to register and, In parts of Ireland designated as ‘rent pressure areas’, hosts are only allowed to rent their main residence short-term after registering.

David Weston, president of the Bed & Breakfast Association, said:

We are pleased that the government is issuing this call for evidence. Now is a good time to reflect on how we protect all consumers, regardless of a hosting owner’s business model, and level the playing field between traditional businesses and those on new platforms.

The call for evidence will help the government strike the right balance between achieving these goals, while avoiding imposing disproportionate new burdens or costs on small businesses.

We will play a constructive role in helping the government develop a proportionate solution, and we call on all tourist accommodation owners to participate in the call for evidence and ensure your views are heard.

Merilee Karr, President of the Short Term Accommodation Association and Founder and CEO of Under The Doormat said:

The STAA is pleased to be able to contribute to the call for evidence on short term rentals and holiday accommodation in England, announced today by the DCMS. Short-term and holiday rentals are playing an increasingly important role in England’s tourist economy, creating significant numbers of jobs in local communities and generating valuable sources of income for local owners and businesses.

Any new regulatory solution should recognize this contribution and seek to support the industry as an important part of the wider UK tourism sector. As an industry, we look forward to working with DCMS to ensure that a simple and cost-effective regulatory solution is found that considers community needs and benefits, and helps landlords to lease properties that otherwise , would remain empty. We are pleased to hear that the UK government is committed to finding a solution that strikes the right balance, and we look forward to sharing our ideas and thoughts on practical solutions with policy makers.

The commitment to consultation on tourist accommodation was made for the first time in the Government Tourism Recovery Plan published in June 2021.

We have already taken steps to give communities greater capacity to manage the impact that second homes can have in some places. These include closing tax loopholes, introducing higher stamp duty and allowing councils to levy higher council tax on second homes.

This call for evidence will allow the government to gather the evidence and data to inform all future steps and it wants to hear the views of all parties, including hosts, online platforms, hosting companies and local authorities.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

· The call for submissions will last 12 weeks.

Airbnb listing data showed a 33% increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018, from 168,000 in 2017 to 223,000 in 2018.

The Bed & Breakfast Association (www.bandbassociation.org) is the UK trade association for owners of bed and breakfasts, B&Bs and small family hotels: a sector of around 35,500 small businesses with a turnover combined revenue of £3.6 billion [ONS, 2019].

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