Airbnb landlords in rural areas may need a license to offer their listing for short-term vacation rental

Airbnb owners in rural communities may need to acquire a license to offer their homes as short-term vacation rentals, fearing locals will be driven out due to lack of rental properties

  • Secondary owners may need permission to manage short-term vacation rentals
  • The proposal is being considered following concerns from MPs in popular coastal locations
  • This follows the announced crackdown on people abusing the holiday home tax loophole
  • Vacation rentals must be rented at least 70 days per year for business rates










Airbnb owners in rural communities may need to acquire a license to offer their homes as short-term vacation rentals due to concerns that locals will be driven out due to a lack of rental properties.

A proposal being considered by ministers could require owners of second homes to obtain the consent of their local council to manage short-term holiday rentals.

The plan follows Tory MPs in popular coastal locations including Cornwall, Devon and the Isle of Wight, raising concerns over the booming industry leading to a lack of affordable housing in their area.

A government source told The Times: ‘Clearly we have to react to the way the market has exploded.’

Yesterday the Department of Leveling Up announced a tax crackdown on second home owners who ‘pretend’ to rent out their properties to holidaymakers.

From April 2023, vacation rentals must be rented for at least 70 days a year to qualify for business rates under the new rules, which aim to benefit tourist destinations.

A proposal being considered by ministers could require second home owners to obtain the consent of their local council to manage short-term holiday rentals (Picture: St Ives in Cornwall)

Selaine Saxby, Conservative MP for North Devon, warned during a debate in the House of Commons that rising house prices had contributed to homelessness in her community.

She also said that “noise, anti-social behavior, parties and hot tubs” at Airbnb were causing distress to locals.

And Bob Seely, Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, said the village of Seaview had been ‘effectively taken out of permanent life’ as 82% of the properties were second homes.

Referring to the latest developments, Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “The Government is supporting small businesses, including responsible short-term rentals, which attract tourists and bring significant investment to local communities.

“However, we will not sit idly by and allow people in privileged positions to abuse the system by unfairly claiming tax breaks and leaving local people to bear the cost.

“The action we are taking will create a fairer system, ensuring that second home owners contribute their share to the local services they benefit from.”

Yesterday the Department for Leveling Up announced a tax crackdown on second home owners who 'pretend' to rent their properties to holidaymakers (Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove pictured January 10)

Yesterday the Department for Leveling Up announced a tax crackdown on second home owners who ‘pretend’ to rent their properties to holidaymakers (Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove pictured January 10)

Kurt Jansen, Director of the Tourism Alliance, added: “The establishment of these new operational thresholds for independent businesses is welcomed by the tourism industry as it draws a very important distinction between independent commercial businesses that provide income and jobs to local communities, and vacation homes that are vacant most of the year.

“It is the recognition that tourism is the lifeblood of many small towns and villages, maintaining the viability of local shops, pubs and attractions.”

In 2018-2019, 3% of households in the UK reported having a second home, the proportion remaining unchanged from 2008-2009, according to the Department for Leveling Up.

The most common reason for having a second home is to use it as a vacation or weekend home, while 35% say they see it as a long-term investment or income and 16% have used it as a previous residence.

An Airbnb spokesperson said:

An Airbnb spokesperson said: ‘We take housing issues seriously and have already presented proposals to the government for a national host registration system’ (file photo)

Overall, 57% of second homes are located in the UK, 34% in Europe and 9% in non-European countries, according to the latest figures.

In the Government Department’s English Housing Survey 2018-19 it said: ‘Since 2008-09 there has been an increase in the proportion of UK second homes and a corresponding decrease in European second homes and not European.”

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “The majority of hosts share space in their own homes and almost a third say the extra income is an economic lifeline.

“We take housing issues seriously and have already presented proposals to the government for a national guest registration system. We look forward to supporting the upcoming consultation.

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