Tenants facing eviction from homes for Airbnbs and holiday lets, Anglesey MS claims

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS recently told the First Minister “there can be no delay” in addressing the issue. Credit: PA

Tenants are facing eviction from their homes to make room for Airbnbs and holidays lets, a Senedd member has claimed.

Long-term housing tenants on Anglesey are being evicted so their properties can be used as short-term holiday lets, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has said.

He believes the process is contributing to Anglesey’s housing problems, and even compared it to Scotland's Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The deputy leader of Plaid Cymru said urgent action was needed to stop evictions currently underway.

Speaking yesterday in the Senedd, he told the First Minister “there can be no delay” in addressing the issue: “The actions of one landlord are particularly worrying.

Rising numbers of evictions are adding to Anglesey’s council house waiting list, the MS said.

“Now, in Scotland, it was intensive grazing that led to the infamous Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries.

"On Anglesey, in the 21st century, it’s tourism, but the principle is the same. From the scale of what I’m hearing, I fear losing large swathes of permanent population.”

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford responded to say a new licensing scheme for short-term rentals will “drive up standards” and pledged extra action if necessary.

He added: “People cannot simply be evicted by being asked to leave; there are rules and legal requirements that landlords have to abide by in all sectors.”

According to the First Minister, there is “no evidence of wholesale retreat from long-term renting in Wales”.

More than 207,000 properties are registered with Rent Smart Wales as long-term rental properties, with 810 landlords re-registering in June alone.

Evidence gathered by Plaid suggests tenant evictions are growing, particularly in coastal areas where demand for holiday accommodation is high.

Plaid also found landlords say they can make up to three times more from short-term lets compared to long-term tenancies.

“It seems houses don’t even need a 'for sale' sign outside anymore before their use changes from a home to a business,” said the MS.

One example included a family who were given six months’ notice in an area where several neighbouring houses are already Airbnbs.

In another case, a mother and her two children were moved from their home, along with up to five other neighbours, so their long-term homes could be “repurposed”.

A new licensing scheme is expected to be introduced for short-term rentals in Wales. Credit: PA

In addition to contributing to the second homes crisis, the Ynys Môn MS also added that the rising number of evictions were adding to Anglesey’s “already lengthy” council house waiting list.

Last week, the Welsh Government announced 10 further plans to tackle growing numbers of second homes and holiday lets in Wales. The measures, part of the administration’s partnership agreement with Plaid Cymru, include a licensing system for homes that are being turned into short-term lets.

Drakeford believes the latest measures will result in “greater parity” of standards between the long and short-term rental sectors in Wales, but pledged extra steps to protect long-term tenants if Mr ap Iorwerth provides the necessary evidence.

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