Woman from Cornwall turns her Airbnb into a long term let for locals

Pip MacFarlane says her town is being "hollowed out" by second homes. Credit: Cornwall Live/BPM Media

A west Cornwall woman has decided to transform her Airbnb business into a long term letting for local residents.

Pip MacFarlane says her town is being "hollowed out" by second homes.

She says while it may be a "drop in the ocean", she has decided to give up her lucrative business in a bid to help her community amid the current housing crisis.

Just last month there were 80 Airbnb listings in Pip's hometown of Penzance - but there were only five properties available to rent long-term.

Despite a huge demand for long-term rentals, there are thousands of properties across the county listed on the tourist lodgings site and more being added on a regular basis.

Pip explained she has been using the upstairs rooms in her home as an Airbnb letting for around six years.

However, after seeing a growing number of people struggling to find long-term affordable rental properties, including her own daughter, she decided she wanted to do something to help.

"It makes me very angry to see how many people on low income are struggling", she said.

"My own daughter has recently had to move out of her home because her rent increased and she couldn't afford to pay it.

"My Airbnb has helped me financially over the years but now I have to put the people in my community first. Penzance is my home and I would hate to see it become another empty town just filled with second homes."

Pip says she now plans on offering the rooms as a long-term, affordable letting for a local resident who is living in a homeless shelter.

She said while she does not have an issue with all Airbnb lettings, she hopes more second homeowners will follow suit.

"It may seem like a drop in the ocean but I hope I can make a difference", she said.

"I want to share my story in the hope that it will encourage other Airbnb owners to follow suit, with a view to taking some of the pressure off the housing crisis.

"I saw a story recently of a man in Portscatho who converted his holiday cottages into long-term lets for locals and that's partly what inspired me to do the same."

Robert Gray has decided to give up his lucrative business in a bid to help the community of Portscatho on the Roseland Peninsula.

He said: "I think the last thing this little village, and quite a bit of Cornwall, needs is another second home.

"Every time a house comes up for sale it suddenly gets snapped up - and I just can't look the young people in the face who say 'we would love to live in granny's old cottage but we can't'."

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