A government review into the impact of Airbnb on local communities has been criticised by Bath’s MP Wera Hobhouse as ‘too little, too late.’
The Government has launched a review into the effect of short-term holiday lets which seeks to improve the holiday letting market for those living in popular tourism destinations. The department has issued a call for evidence in an attempt to better understand the market, opportunities and challenges that the rise in the use of rental booking websites and apps poses to tourism communities and visitors.
According to the Government’s website, the scheme could include a registration scheme with spot-checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety. Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has previously spoken out about excessive Airbnbs in Bath and the impact on local house prices, businesses and residents.
Airbnb data showed a 33% increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018.
Wera Hobhouse MP commented:
“The original intention behind Airbnb was part of the sharing economy – now it is just big business.
“In popular tourist destinations like Bath, this has a huge impact on the local housing market and on traditional B&Bs and small hotels. Airbnb also doesn’t require the same safety measures as traditional B&Bs and hotels. It is just unfair. The big increase in Airbnbs has devastated local communities. The effect is particularly negative when whole houses are turned into Airbnb properties.
“It is a travesty of the original intention behind Airbnb as part of the sharing economy – it has been hijacked by big business. Of course, I welcome a review into the impact of Airbnb on local communities but frankly it is too little, too late. Many traditional B&Bs and hotels have been in touch with my office complaining about the uneven playing field and I hope that the Government will level this out in good time.
“In other cases, Airbnbs are being used as party houses which cause nuisance and aggravation to neighbours and contribute to soaring house prices. It’s important that we ensure that Bath remains an attractive destination, but also a wonderful and affordable place to live.”