Proposed law suggests banning AirBnBs in some areas and strict licenses introduced

Ms Maskell’s Bill would give councils the power to restrict how many days a year properties could be used as short-term lets. Credit: Unsplash

A proposed change to the law could see a licensing scheme introduced for AirBnBs, or even see them banned in certain areas.

Labour MP Rachel Maskell is urging ministers to back her Short-term and Holiday-let Accommodation (Licensing) Bill, which would give councils the power to restrict how many days a year properties could be used as short-term lets.

She says parts of her York Central constituency have become plagued by short-term lets used as "party houses" in recent years, which caused distress for residents and lead to a scarcity of homes.

She told the Commons: "There is something very wrong in what is happening and our constituents are suffering. My Bill will fix this.

"Rural, coastal and urban communities are at the centre of this extraction of wealth and housing, leaving destitution and despair.

"For Government not to license short-term holiday lets, just register them, will let landlords off the hook and deepen the housing crisis.

"A registration scheme will appease the industry, landlords and short-term holiday platforms, but fail to give local authorities the tools they need to protect residents.

"That is why I am calling for support to my Bill today, which will bring fair and balanced changes into legislation."

Rachael Maskell explains more about her proposed Bill

Speaking for the Labour frontbench, Worsley and Eccles South MP Barbara Keeley urged the Government not to block the Bill, telling MPs that "getting this right quickly is essential".

Culture minister Stuart Andrew confirmed the Government would not support the Bill.

"As the Government is already progressing the registration scheme that I have outlined I am afraid we cannot support this Bill," he told the Commons.

"Nonetheless the Government recognises that a registration scheme alone will not address all of the challenges that have been highlighted today, particularly in the case of housing."

Mr Andrew, a former housing minister, told MPs that the registration scheme favoured by the Government would provide councils with accurate data and "better information on short-term letting in their area".

The proposals, intended as an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, will lead to a consultation on the design of the scheme "carried out next year before the summer recess", he said.

Intervening, Ms Maskell pressed the minister to act urgently, asking: "Does the minister realise that over that time period another 6,525 properties are going to flip over to be short-term holiday lets – 29 a day – surely we need to get on with licensing now?"

Mr Andrew replied: “I absolutely recognise and I hope I have indicated the seriousness with which the Government takes this issue, but I do think it is right that we do this properly and that we make sure we get as much data as possible so that we really know the position we are facing."

He also confirmed the Government was aware of suggestions that owners should need planning permission to convert their properties into a short-term let.

Mr Andrew said the ministers would consult "next year on whether planning permission will more often be required when a house seeks to start to be used as a short-term let and for new short-term lets especially in tourism hotspots".

MPs ran out of time to complete the second reading of Ms Maskell’s Bill.

It is scheduled for further debate on Friday 24 March, but is unlikely to become law without Government support.

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