In Cornwall, there were over 19,500 holiday rental listings in June and only 166 properties are currently available to rent on Rightmove.
In the villages surrounding Newquay, famous for its surfing and summer parties for school leavers, there is only one rental property compared to 794 rentals.
In Padstow, where holidaymakers often head for seafood restaurants and the harbor market, there is just one house for rent, but nearly 800 vacation rentals in and around the town. Rightmove listings are empty for rental properties in the same area outside of town.
The picture is only slightly better in neighboring Devon. Renters could find 1,051 rental listings in the county on Rightmove, far fewer than the 15,000 vacation rentals available.
There are just three rental homes in and around Dartmouth, compared to 815 vacation listings, a rate of 271 per home. Braunton followed with 239 listings per rental just ahead of the 237 around Ilfracombe.
“What I’ve seen in the last year is that when I first became a councilor it was mainly single men who were becoming homeless and struggling to find accommodation, now it’s families – especially women with children,” Kirkham said.
“They are forced out of their private rented accommodation under Section 21 of the evictions when landlords sell it or return it to Airbnb rental or vacation rental.”
Parts of Kent have also seen holiday listings increase since the pandemic. Listings in Chatham and Margate have increased by 79% and 77% respectively since 2019. Rentals have not kept pace. There are just under two vacation rental listings for every rental property in the Chatham area, while in Margate there is one for 27. Overall, there are more than 7,600 vacation rental listings in the county, compared to 2,600 homes for rent.
Meanwhile, there are just 15 rental properties on the market in the Hunstanton area of Norfolk, compared to 1,215 vacation listings. Across the county, there are 8,000 vacation rentals available for booking with only 900 homes listed as available for rent.
Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director of Generation Rent, tells The Big Issue that vacation rental owners enjoy less regulation, lower taxes and higher rents than their private counterparts.
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“It takes homes away from people who live in resorts, destroys communities and ultimately hurts the tourism economy itself,” Wilson Craw said. “If no one can afford to live near tourist jobs, the only beneficiaries of vacation rentals are landlords.”
While the government has promised action in the next leveling and regeneration bill, some communities are taking matters into their own hands.
Residents of St Ives in Cornwall voted to restrict second homes in a referendum in 2016, but there are currently just three rentals and almost 1,500 short-term rentals listed.
In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced planning and tax changes and a licensing scheme earlier this month to help councils tackle the problem, steps that were only possible due to of the devolved status of Wales.
The number of Welsh holiday rentals has increased since the easing of pandemic restrictions. There were around 30 per cent more rentals in Gwynedd, according to AirDNA, while listings in West Wales rose by a quarter. The Big Issue found just three Anglesey rental properties on Rightmove despite there being 2,116 holiday rental listings in June.
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While Welsh plans have yet to bear fruit to redress the balance, Kirkham believes Cornwall needs the same powers to tackle the problem.
“We are frustrated that we don’t have the tools we need in Cornwall to deal with the problem we have,” she said. “Whereas in other areas, because decentralization has already taken place, they have the tools. The Conservative government is simply not moving fast enough on this file.
The government in Westminster has launched a review of the impact of rising short-term and holiday rentals in England before the collapse of Boris Johnson’s regime.
As part of the Leveling and Regeneration Bill, ministers have proposed measures to improve standards and give councils the power to raise council tax on empty homes.
New housing minister Marcus Jones said the government “recognizes that a large number of second homes concentrated in one area can have a negative effect on local communities”. He added that the bill would allow for a housing tax premium on second homes of up to 100%.
In Brighton and Hove, where the 4,300 holiday rental listings are more than four times the number of homes for rent, councilors are wondering if it will become the first city in the UK to restrict second homes.
It’s a familiar situation for Toby Sedgwick, 32, who said he and his partner were struggling to pay rent despite earning a family income of around £40,000 a year.
” This is madness. I was born and raised in Brighton, have lived here all my life but the rents only go up every year. The same goes for competition for a flat – I’ve seen adverts for a flat asking for 12 months’ rent in advance,” said Sedgwick, a defense organizer for the union’s Brighton branch. Acorn tenants.
“I have a long term partner and we want to have kids, we want to buy a house, my mother lives up the street, I also have a grandmother in a nursing home down the street. I love Brighton, but we’ve talked about Sheffield, Liverpool, moving hundreds of miles away from our friends and family just so we can afford to live.
Brighton and Hove Labor Councilor Gill Williams has proposed a ban on new builds becoming second homes in a bid to prevent the problem from continuing to spiral out of control.
“I find we are closing classrooms in schools because families are moving and demographics are changing in Brighton and Hove,” she said.
“Tourism is part of our culture but we have difficulty filling vacancies because people have to move. The number of second homes and vacation rentals changes our streets.
“It’s not just young people too. I hear people of retirement age who were living in private rental accommodation and are worried about where they will live when they live off their pension. I fear this will lead to a new generation of homelessness.
Landlords have also asked for tax adjustments to help them compete with short-term rentals. Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, says the growth in vacation rentals is a “direct result of the government’s attack on long-term rental accommodation”.
In big cities, it’s a different story. With the pandemic shifting to working from home and new regulations to limit the number of days properties can be rented out, the Airbnb revolution of recent years has come to a halt.
There were 41,249 holiday rental listings in London in June, down 43% from pre-pandemic levels and just 2% more than in 2021. It’s a similar story in Edinburgh which saw ads go from 12,000 before the pandemic to 6,800.
Both cities have introduced building permit rules to limit the number of short-term rental properties. Londoners can only let their property for a maximum of 90 days a year without planning permission to change use with similar rules to be introduced in Edinburgh.
Even Airbnb accepts that more regulation in the industry is inevitable – as has been the case overseas where Airbnb owners are required to register with city authorities like in New York, Boston and Santa Monica.
However, the company does not accept that its activities have an impact on the availability of accommodation. Amanda Cupples, chief executive of Airbnb Northern Europe, told the House of Lords built environment committee in May that there was “no evidence” linking the company to a shortage.
An Airbnb spokesperson told The Big Issue: “Four out of five UK hosts share just one listing and the majority only do so two nights a month on average to boost their income. A third of hosts say that the extra income helps them cope with the rising cost of living.
“Airbnb welcomes industry regulation, and we’ve put forward clear, modern proposals for rules that unlock the benefits of accommodation for everyday families and protect communities, while giving local authorities the information and tools they need. need to effectively regulate home sharing.”
Can the vacation rental genie be put back in the bottle? Unless an affordable housing revolution is on the horizon, immediate action may be the only way to get the most out of the homes we have.