Figures obtained by ITV News suggest that one of the country's most popular tourist locations has as many Airbnbs listed as homeless people.
The figures - published by CPRE The Countryside Charity and based on data from local authorities, AirBnb and other holiday platforms - show Cornwall has 661 per cent more short-let listings than there were five years ago.
That’s around 15,000 in total now.
The charity claims roughly 15,000 families in the county are on social housing waiting lists as of September 2021 - it says his is a sign families are losing out on a stable home due to how many houses are now used for tourists.
Last month the charity issued a report claiming a 1,000 per cent increase in short-term lets nationally in 2015-21, with most in rural staycation hotspots – all while 176,000 families waited on social housing lists.
Its analysis of data on properties listed on Airbnb and other short let sites shows that 148,000 homes that could have otherwise – or in some cases, previously were – used as homes by local families are instead being put up on short-term and holiday lets.
CPRE chief executive Crispin Truman says: “There simply has to be a government response to the fact that our rural housing supply is disappearing into an unregulated short-term rentals market that simply didn’t exist six years ago.”
The CPRE wants tighter controls on second home ownership, including higher council tax on second homes and the requirement for short term lets to have planning permission.
Additionally, it wants the definition of ‘affordable’ to be changed in national planning policy, with rents being tied to local incomes rather than market prices.
Truman adds: “It’s clear the government needs to act fast to avert a growing housing crisis. With the cost of living set to hammer people’s finances in the coming year, this is a problem that’s quickly getting out of hand.
“Across our most traditional rural communities, from the beaches of Cornwall to the lakes of Cumbria, homes that used to be rented to local families sit empty for much of the year. Hard-working people are suffering and they will not easily forgive a government that promised to level them up if it leaves them falling through the cracks of a broken system.”