To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to prevent the development of public land for the sole or partial purpose of creating housing for use on (a) airbnb or (b) other short term holiday lets.
1 February 2022
Data on whether new build developments are used for the sole purpose of Airbnb or other short term holiday lets are not centrally collected.
On Public Sector Land, public bodies should generally dispose of surplus land (including property assets built on that land) at the best possible price reasonably obtainable. It is for individual departments to determine the most appropriate route to disposal. It is for local authorities to determine the most suitable use of land on each site in line with the National Planning Policy Framework and local planning policy.
As a general principle, the Government recognises the benefits that second homes and holiday lets can bring to local economies and to the tourism sector and does not wish to interfere with people’s freedom to live where they choose. However, the Government also recognises the adverse effect that large numbers of second homes and holiday lets can have on some areas.
In July 2021, the Government published a Tourism Recovery Plan. As part of the plan, the Government will consult on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. A Registration Scheme is one potential route through which to create a data-driven approach, creating an improved national picture of the precise shape of the accommodation landscape which could feed into a wider Data Hub.
Any such scheme could encompass the breadth of the sector, from ‘traditional’ accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs, to short term lets in the sharing economy and could be used to underpin future government interventions, for example regarding the regulation of the sharing economy. The rise of the sharing economy has and will continue to play an important role in attracting tourists to destinations across the country and contributing to the UK economy.
However, it has created concerns about uneven regulatory requirements and negative impacts on local communities compared to other types of accommodation. The Government is committed to hearing the views of all interested parties on the merits and drawbacks of a Registration Scheme, and how any potential scheme could be implemented proportionately to avoid placing a significant regulatory burden on the sector.
The Government will launch a consultation later in 2022, but will begin the process by launching a call for evidence in the coming weeks. The call for evidence will seek views on a range of issues that arise from the increase in short-term holiday letting, not just on housing supply but also on matters such as compliance with health and safety regulations and the impact on anti-social behaviour.
The consultation will enable the Government to put forward proportionate policy options based on a firm evidence base.