Airbnb and holiday homes under review in UK tourist towns as controversy grows

Simon Calder outlines five tips for booking a staycation online

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As the UK’s staycation market continues to boom, many Britons are opting to stay in Airbnbs or other short-term holiday lets. However, for residents in popular areas such as Cornwall, holiday lets can cause some issues.

The review will look at the current state of the market and could introduce physical checks on holiday properties as well as limits on noise and anti-social behaviour.

Nigel Huddleston, tourism minister, said: “We’ve seen huge growth in the range of holiday accommodation available over the last few years.

“We want to reap the benefits of the boom in short-term holiday lets while protecting community interests and making sure England has high-quality tourist accommodation.

“While no decisions have been taken, this review will help us work out the options to look at so we can protect our much-loved communities and thriving holiday industry.”

Short-term lets can drive up prices in tourist towns, forcing out residents who can no longer afford houses.

Some residents in popular areas have also complained of noise pollution and mess from tourists.

In Cornwall, there are fears that some short-term lets don’t meet health and safety standards.

Tourists have also complained of short-term let owners exploiting the market with high prices.

David Weston, chairman of the Bed & Breakfast Association, said: “We are pleased that the Government is launching this call for evidence.

“It is the right time to consider how we protect all consumers, regardless of an accommodation owner’s business model, and level the playing field between traditional business and those on newer platforms.”

Airbnb listing data showed a 33 percent rise in the UK between 2017 and 2018 and there has been a rise in short-term letting sites.

The pandemic also drove up demand for staycation holidays as people were unable to travel abroad.

The review will look at possible regulation rules for short-term holiday lets as well as their impact.

In Portugal, anyone wishing to advertise or provide guest accommodation must register electronically first.

In Greece and parts of Ireland, hosts also have to register if they want to let out their home.

Cornwall has plans to introduce a registration system to make sure accommodation meets minimum standards.

Airbnb has just taken the decision to permanently ban parties and events at homes on the platform.

It had been a temporary measure during the pandemic but has been popular with hosts on the platform.

The company said that the number of complaints about parties had dropped by 44 percent since the measure was introduced.

The global party ban could have exceptions for speciality and traditional venues in future, according to Airbnb.

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