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MP says Airbnb glut contributing to “devastation” of city

A Labour MP says a surge in the number of stag and hen parties in her constituency - undertaken by people staying in Airbnbs and other short let properties - have led to “devastation” in the city.

York MP Rachael Maskell has told the BBC that the explosion in short lets was depleting the city’s mainstream housing stock. 

She said there were 1,785 short-term holiday lets in York and added: "Party groups are coming to the city and we're seeing a big rise in Airbnbs where people are staying, so it's now not just contained in the city centre, it's growing out to the communities where people live.


"People are buying up housing stock, cash in hand, so the chance for first-time buyers trying to get their house is disappearing and it's pushing up the market price."

And on Twitter the MP wrote: "As we enter this new Parliament, I am bringing a focus on the devastation that Hen and Stag parties is bringing to York and why we must pivot to become a leading family friendly city for the sake of residents and our economy. York is better than this.”

The BBC article quotes a business spokesperson suggesting that those hiring Airbnbs and other short lets typically used national or global chains and so even in their spending did little to boost independent local businesses. 

Meanwhile a York resident has written to a local newspaper saying: “I live in a street near Bishopthorpe Road and we have at least three Airbnb houses on our road.

“The problem is not just the noise but the gaps these soulless houses create in our community. We’re a friendly bunch of neighbours but we miss the three people or families that could be living in these houses if they were rented out or sold.

“There’s a wider impact though because these three households still need somewhere to live, so more new houses are built covering more green space.

“Until recently there were also several thriving bed and breakfast establishments in the area. I know of at least four that have closed since Airbnb became established around here, with a loss of employment and of business for local suppliers.

“So it’s not only about noise .... there are wider detriments to our local area.”

In recent days Airbnb has introduced features to its website which it claims will help avoid ‘over-tourism’.

It has deleted its default destination box and instead replaced it with ‘categories’ such as surfing, design and national parks in a bid to highlight alternatives to potential accommodation bookers. 

The platform says it hopes this will help users discover alternative destinations that they would not necessarily have considered, and cut down on the glut of visitors to certain long-standing popular locations. 

Users will still be able to find a holiday by destination and specific dates, but this will no longer be the default way to search.

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    As an ex bed and breakfast owner and a landlord I have some experience in both of these sectors. These changes are a direct result of previous government policies to attack small landlords by withholding tax relief on interest paid ( section 24) and allowing trading short term accommodation providers to get full tax relief. This was a Green Party policy that George Osborne stole. Now 6 years later we see the direct results and now we will face more regulation but the damage to both sectors has been done- small hotels/ B&Bs have closed, small landlords have left or changed their business model to short term letting. More regulation will cause more damage and the results will be seen in another 6 years. All due to headline grabbing policies and a lack of joined up thinking. Our local communities deserve so much better than this.

    Philip Drake

    I agree with you Michael.

    Additionally the introduction of IR35 in 2000, with its subsequent draconian Chapter 10 Change implementation in April 2021 has essentially eradicated Ltd Company contractors, who would stays in B&Bs during the week and return home at the weekend. These contracts could last anything from an odd month to around 2 years (going beyond 2 years was another HMRC rule which was instrumental in curtailing contracts as expenses were much reduced after this duration). This dovetailed nicely for B&Bs as the weekend would be available for short term tourists. The long contracts and sensible people would have been an asset to the neighbourhood and increased the local economy. Unfortunately that work is now performed offshore, the local UK economies are negatively impacted and the offshore economies now enjoy the UK payments, of course the UK taxes are negatively impacted as well.
    Covid of course has had a similar impact and it will be some time before those wounds are healed.
    The rise of AirBnB should have been expected by the powers that be, unfortunately tax decisions are rarely rolled back, they tend to be continually ratcheted up to squeeze the common folk pips.

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    Another MP in an affluent, over gentrified city full of hipster ****s who claims that housing being 'unaffordable' is all down to airBNB and 'over tourism'.

    Am I detecting a pattern here?

    Let me guess. More taxes, and more compulsary bureaucracy so they can more efficiently collect those taxes?


    Surely the use of entire properties for short term let's does indeed change the availability for long term housing?
    Air BnB started as letting out a room/ bed in an owner occupied property. It has evolved into something very different now.
    What would the negative impacts be of limiting short term let's to owner occupied properties unless planning/licencing approved?

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    Strange, B&B in a tourist area, who ever heard of it? Not massive Immigration of course!

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    In Britain, staycations are a massive success. The PRS is a massive success


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