February 20, 2024 12:15 pm

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

In January, the year-on-year growth in average rents for newly let properties in Britain showed a moderate increase of 8.3%. This marks the slowest pace observed in the past 13 months and the first instance of single-digit growth in the last six months, based on data provided by lettings agency Hamptons.

According to the report, last month witnessed a shift in the rental landscape, with 59% of landlords achieving higher rents when welcoming new tenants. This figure represents a decline from the peak observed in January 2022, where 81% of landlords secured increased rents, and a slight dip from the 79% recorded in January 2023.

In parallel with these developments, a groundbreaking mandatory national register is on the horizon, poised to furnish local authorities with a wealth of information on short-term lets within their jurisdictions. This strategic move by the government aims to empower councils by providing insights into the prevalence of short-term lets, their nuanced impacts on local communities, and the crucial reinforcement of compliance with health and safety regulations. This comprehensive registry is poised to play a pivotal role in fostering a regulated and adaptive environment for short-term lets, striking a balance between the interests of property owners and the broader community.

Meanwhile, in a bid to preserve flexibility for existing homeowners, the government has outlined a provision allowing them to continue letting out their primary or sole residence without the need for planning consent. However, this privilege is subject to a limitation of up to 90 nights per year, underscoring the government’s commitment to a balanced approach that considers the needs of both property owners and the broader housing landscape.

Generation Rent, spearheaded by CEO Ben Twomey, voices discontent with the current set of measures, asserting that they inadequately address the fundamental issues plaguing the housing landscape.

Twomey sheds light on a worrisome trend, pointing out that an alarming number of homes, exceeding 35,000, have undergone a transformation into holiday accommodations or short-term lets since 2019. His primary contention is the persistence of these conversions, which he argues not only contributes to an escalating trend in rents but also leads to the displacement of long-standing residents from their communities.

In a comprehensive and impassioned statement, Twomey delves into the far-reaching consequences, stating, “The deleterious loss of homes to holiday lets is precipitating the forced exodus of families from their communities. Since 2019, the conversion of over 35,000 privately rented homes into Airbnb-style short-term lets has become a formidable challenge to housing stability, amplifying the urgency for more robust regulatory interventions.”

“Generation Rent has been calling for government action on this issue to keep renters in our communities and we are pleased that a registration scheme will finally be introduced to monitor the use of these properties.

“However, there is significant doubt as to whether changes to the planning system would be enforceable and not enough is being done to reverse recent trends. 

“Proposals to allow existing short term lets to automatically gain permission to continue risks shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted. 

“Meanwhile, if the planning system is the only way to reverse recent conversions, then it could be uneconomic to bring homes back into long-term tenancies or even trigger a rush of further holiday let registrations before government changes come into effect.

“The government must go further and introduce local holiday let licensing schemes, which could give councils proper oversight of how many homes in their area can be let out as short term lets based on local need. This should include local caps on the number of holiday lets that can operate, along with tax changes that take mortgage interest relief away from holiday lets. 

“If the government doesn’t give local councils the powers they need to protect the supply of rented homes, then people will continue to be denied somewhere they can afford in the place they call home.”


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