THE announcement of Government action on the regulation for short term holiday lets such as Airbnbs in York has been welcomed by councillors.

The news that the Government appears poised to act on the spread of these short term holiday lets, through the need for planning permission, has been welcomed by York Labour.

Labour councillors have been highlighting the problem of family housing being turned over to short term holiday lets in York for several years, including through a council motion last October.

Labour said flipping a property from an ordinary private rental to a short term, such as weekly, let means while landlords are able to maximise profit, the loss of rental property can also contribute to homelessness and a reduction in homes available to rent for working York residents.

Labour housing spokesperson, councillor Michael Pavlovic, said: My motion to council last October sought action from both the council and the Government to restrict the uncontrolled spread of short-term holiday lets. 

"The Government announcing a consultation on plans to introduce both a registration scheme and a new planning use type are really good news.

"If this is pushed through it will allow local councillors to establish exactly where these businesses are in the city and then take steps to determine where they should and shouldn’t be permitted in future.

"Without this, we could in time see large parts of central York occupied not by permanent residents but by those on short break visits to the city.

“Tourism is important to the local economy but it cannot come at any price. We want living, breathing communities in all parts of the city where schools, GP surgeries and community hubs are all supported by the resident population. Without controls on this type of let, these valued community facilities will gradually come under more and more pressure."

The loss of family housing and lack of affordable housing has moved up the agenda for MPs as popular tourism destinations have seen huge numbers of homes flipped to short-term lets. The worst affected now see a majority of property unoccupied for a majority of the year. The sector increased by 40 per cent in just three years to 2021, according to BBC research.

Rachael Maskell MP has been pursuing restrictions on short term holiday lets in Parliament, while councillors recently blocked retrospective planning permission for two properties operating as short term holiday lets in the Groves.

Maskell said: "This is a really important step for York and it goes to show what an MP can achieve when they listen to their communities and fight hard in Parliament on their behalf."

The Government’s new proposal on a new planning use will aim to provide clarity on what is and what isn’t considered a short term holiday let.