Politicians from several parties say they want their local council in Bristol to have the powers to regulate the number and types of Airbnb and other short lets.
Local media in the city report that Labour cabinet member Nicola Beech wants greater powers for the council to regulate parts of the so-called Gig Economy, including Airbnb and other short lets, and she has won support from Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green councillors.
Bristol Live reports Beech saying: “There are 2,000 registered properties for Airbnb and this is rising year on year. Meanwhile we have 12,000 people on our housing waiting list, hundreds in temporary accommodation and a generation of people renting. We are asking for support of full council to lobby for change and level the playing field.”
Another Labour councillor, Estella Tincknell, told the council meeting: “Airbnb has an impact on housing, including pricing ordinary families out and leaving perfectly good premises empty for long periods, but it’s also directly affecting the hotel and hospitality business.
“Its properties are not subject to planning regulations, they’re not registered as hotels, they’re not inspected for safety or pay business rates or VAT.”
Conservative councillor John Goulandris backed the move saying: “We agree with you on regulation of Airbnb and the student market which have taken off to an incredible extent and are having a serious market distortion, and at that point we must have regulation. We [also] have to look at student accommodation providers like Bristol University and say to them ‘you ought to be paying business rates’.
“The university has 30,000-plus students here. It has become big business and it’s only appropriate that they pay a fair share towards the running of Bristol.”
Councillor Beech’s motion, passed by the full Bristol city council, says: “Full council resolves: to endorse and support efforts by the administration to lobby for greater powers and resources to regulate the gig economy, particularly accommodation rentals by non-owner occupiers; And to endorse and support efforts by the administration to secure the legislation and powers needed to levy business rates on short-term letters and student accommodation (not on students).”