Housing campaigners call on Government to give English councils power to refuse Airbnbs

Action on Short-Term Lets[i] have launched a campaign for English councils to have the right to refuse the conversion of entire homes into Airbnbs[ii]. The campaign's first public statement called on people to respond to a government consultation on a registration scheme for short-term lets which closed on the 21st September[iii].


The numbers of residential houses being converted into short term accommodation for tourists (aka Airbnbs) in England is on the rise, depriving communities of much needed homes for local people in many popular tourism destinations. Whilst both the Scottish and Welsh governments have introduced measures that allow councils to ban the conversion of residential houses into entire house short term lets, the English government has yet to act.


Will McMahon, Director of Action on Empty Homes, said: “The majority of listings are not hosts letting out spare rooms in their own homes, but are for whole houses.  This sucks properties out of the housing market, reduces housing for locals, fragments communities, and displaces long term renters where landlords switch to short-term letting.  Ultimately, the consequences are less housing and increased costs for renters and buyers alike.


Isaac Rose, organiser at the Greater Manchester Tenants Union, said

"Whilst licensing would improve standards and conditions, much more is needed to curb the damaging effects that short-term lets are having on housing supply, and the erosion of local communities. We need to give councils the power to refuse whole house conversions to Airbnb lets.”


Action on Short-Term Lets will be calling a national meeting of all interested groups later in 2022 following the publication of the responses to the recent Government consultation on a short-lets registration scheme, a very limited response, which will do nothing to stop the flow of homes being sucked out of residential use.

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[i] Action on Short-Term Lets is a campaign group that has arisen out of the collaboration between Action on Empty Homes: https://www.actiononemptyhomes.org/ and the Greater Manchester Tenants Union: https://tenantsunion.org.uk/


[ii] “These powers are already slated for introduction by the Welsh Government: https://gov.wales/new-package-measures-address-high-numbers-second-homes while Scotland has also armed councils with new powers: https://www.thenational.scot/news/20591865.edinburgh-introduces-strict-rules-airbnb-style-short-term-lets/

- yet English councils are left without a means to control huge numbers of homes being sucked out of residential use by the Airbnb explosion: https://www.cpre.org.uk/about-us/cpre-media/cpre-research-explosion-in-holiday-lets-is-strangling-rural-communities/


[iii] Campaigners and experts from Action on Short-Term Lets have developed a guide to answering the government’s consultation questions, you can find this here: https://www.actiononemptyhomes.org/government-short-lets-consultation