New research shows explosion in holiday lets in Northumberland

A surge in the number of homes marketed for Airbnb-style short term lets is crippling the residential rentals market, new research shows.

Friday, 21st January 2022, 10:00 am
Research has shown a big rise in the number of holiday lets in Northumberland.

The problem is most acute in staycation hotspots, where hundreds of homes previously available to rent to local people have been switched to short stay holiday rentals.

Data for Northumberland shows there has been a 2245% increase in the number of short-term listings advertised between September 2016 and September 2021, up from 78 to 1,829.

Over the same period there has been a 3% decline in the number of privately rented properties coming forward on the market

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In 2020 there was 8,967 households on the social housing wait list, a 5% increase on the year before

However, only five social houses were completed in 2020, a further decline from the nine social houses built the year before.

CPRE, the countryside charity, is calling for tighter controls on second home ownership, including higher council tax on second homes and the requirement for short term lets to have planning permission.

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, said: “Across our most traditional rural communities, from the beaches of Cornwall to the lakes of Cumbria, homes that used to be rented to local families sit empty for much of the year.

"More people are pushed onto social housing waiting lists, which have been stretched to breaking point by years of underinvestment. Hard working people are suffering and they will not easily forgive a government that promised to level them up if it leaves them falling through the cracks of a broken system.

‘It’s clear the government needs to act fast to avert a growing housing crisis. With the cost of living set to hammer people’s finances in the coming year, this is a problem that’s quickly getting out of hand.

"There simply has to be a government response to the fact that our rural housing supply is disappearing into an unregulated short-term rentals market that simply didn’t exist six years ago.

"Ministers must introduce tighter controls on second home ownership, including higher council tax on second homes and the requirement for short term lets to have planning permission.”

Jen Hall, from Beadnell, which has among the highest proportion of second homes in the country, has been raising awareness of housing issues for many years.

She said: “Northumberland is seeing the effects of too many commercial holiday lets as developers buy up any available properties and private let landlords evict tenants to turn their properties into holiday houses.

“Three families near here received notice to quit last summer and had nowhere else to go. Unless the government takes action and reduces the overgenerous tax benefits, many more will follow.

"Every parish in the AONB is affected with over 1,000 homes registered as businesses. 70% of these paid no Council Tax or Business Rates last year.

“The government needs to regulate the industry with properties being registered the same as any other accommodation providers.”

“I don’t think second or holiday homes are businesses if they can stand empty most of the year.

"It’s also unfair that people paying Council Tax in these areas must pay more every year for the facilities which are enjoyed by visitors. Holiday let owners should be contributing too. Continuing to look away and do nothing is not an option.”

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