Holiday lets and the housing market

With the summer holidays well and truly upon us, many of us have plans for getting away and we know too well that Suffolk remains a very popular destination for those taking a break. But what impact does the number of holidays lets have on the local housing market?

The UK Government is looking at exactly this as they are seeking views on balancing the needs of the tourism industry in England and understanding the benefits of short-term and holiday lets, whilst assessing the challenges it may pose to the housing market. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are keen to consider alternatives to registration and licensing schemes including non-regulatory alternatives.

The review follows the Tourism Recovery Plan, published in June 2021 which is intended to consider changes necessary in the light of the growth of online platforms for holiday lets and includes a commitment to consider a possible Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. Data shows that Airbnb listing data increased by 33% in UK listings between 2017 and 2018 alone. 

In Scotland there is already legislation in progress for a licensing scheme for holiday lets, certification is required in Northern Ireland and the Welsh Government intends to introduce a similar scheme. Therefore, the UK Government needs to ensure they develop a fuller understanding of the current market in England, and future policy responses are proportionate and evidence based.

The call for evidence notes that measures that benefit the tourism sector can have detrimental impacts on the local housing market, such as the availability of properties for rent. It is important to achieve a balance. Concerns about health and safety standards in holiday lets are also a key factor in the review. Therefore, information about short-term lets, and views on the positive and negative impacts are being sought.

The announcement of the review mentions several policy options being considered, including:

  • physical checks of premises to ensure regulations in areas including health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed
  • a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme with spot checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety 
  • a self-certification scheme for hosts to register with before they can operate
  • better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers

If you would like to input into the consultation, please do not hesitate the contact me as I am working closely with Propertymark in their response to this on behalf of their members. The deadline is 21st September and the Government has stated a further consultation on specific policy proposals will take place later this year.

Also – and as always – if you have any questions or would like any advice on the local property market, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am always happy to help.