The letting agents’ trade body ARLA Propertymark is urging the government to regulate Airbnb and other short let platforms but to allow that regulation to vary area-to-area.
In a response to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport consultation on registration options for a short-term lets licensing in England, Propertymark says any scheme should not be compulsory for local authorities if they can prove short lets are having no impact on private rented supply in their area.
The trade body’s response includes this key comment:
“Out of the options laid out by the UK Government, Propertymark favours the approach of an opt-in scheme for local authorities, with a national framework. This would enable resources to be prioritised in areas where local authorities have identified failing health and safety standards in short-term lets and or if the short-term lettings industry is negatively affecting the supply of long- term housing.
“We envision that a framework would include guidelines on when a registration scheme would be recommended, such as a percentage of short-term lets that are failing to meet minimum standards and the requirement for evidence that the proliferation of short-term lets is having a negative impact on the availability on places to live.
“By ensuring that evidence is provided, licensing schemes can be prioritised where they are needed and not introduced in areas where the scheme would have a detrimental affect on local residents and the economy.”
Propertymark tells government that a balance must be struck between the local tourism industry and housing needs with local authorities being best placed to run the schemes and decide if they are necessary for their area.
However, it makes clear the ultimate solution to this is to increase the supply of homes of all tenures.
“We have long called for licensing schemes to bring parity between the short-term lettings (STLs) and the privately rented sector. Not only would this ensure STLs meet the same standards as other rented properties, but in recent years, there have been concerns that landlords moving from the private rented sector to STLs would worsen supply issues within the PRS” it says.