Estate agents have backed a call by LibDem housing spokesperson Tim Farron to tackle the multiple social and economic problems being caused by the boom in holiday and short-stay rentals, a sector dominated by Airbnb.
Farron (pictured) told fellow MPs in the commons that the switch by thousands of landlords to Airbnb across the UK and particularly in holiday hotspots was reducing supply and affordability within the traditional private rental sector.
During the debate, which was initiated by Farron who represents a constituency in the Lake District, examples were given of Airbnb lets reducing the pool of properties available to rent for local people, and therefore reducing stock for letting agents.
It was also argued that Airbnb was damaging local tourism industries and services in places such as Devon and Cornwall because many leisure business staff cannot afford to work or live locally any longer.
Timothy Douglas (pictured), Propertymark’s Policy and Campaigns Manager, says: “It was reassuring to hear representations from politicians from all parties reiterating our concerns that in many parts of the country the balance of short term lets, and long-term private rented accommodation has tipped too far.
“It is therefore vital that policymakers understand that the short-term rental market is growing in attraction for many existing and new landlords given its tax and regulatory framework, risking the availability and affordability of private rented sector homes.”
Propertymark also wants to see the 3% stamp duty surcharge on BTL properties abolished because, it argues, it is stifling new investment in the PRS.
“The government also needs to urgently look at the tax loophole that permits owners to register for non-domestic business rates instead of Council Tax and to level the regulatory playing field so that short-term providers are subject to the same expectations as long-term providers,” says Douglas.
Ironically, the boom in Airbnb has come just 12 months after the closure of the tourism industry during Covid forced many properties to be returned to the traditional lettings market.