SHORT term holiday lets and student accommodation is becoming a “major concern” for some York residents, a city councillor has claimed.

Cllr Dave Merrett told the housing, planning and safer communities executive Michael Pavlovic on July 19 that he was surprised at how often residents brought up short term holiday lets on the door step when he was campaigning prior to this year’s local elections.

But with just more than a year until the next general election, coun Merrett says this issue is occupying the minds of voters. 

“The proliferation of both short term holiday lets and student accommodation is obviously a major concern to a lot of residents in the [Guildhall] area,” he said.

“Those concerns stem from the immediate impacts of some of those properties, where they end up being used for late night arrivals, noisy parties, or people returning in a very noisy, boisterous form from the town very late at night well into the early hours of the morning disturbing adjacent, normal residents.”

He also commented on the perceived loss of community by some residents, adding that at certain points of the year areas become “ghost streets.”

“It will also impact the availability of properties, for people who live and work in York, to live in,” Cllr Merrett said.

York Press: Cllr Dave MerrettCllr Dave Merrett

He also said one person had been “chucked out” of their home because the landlord wanted to turn into a short term holiday let.

The 2021 Census showed that 65.1 per cent of York households are now owned by their occupiers, down from 66.1 per cent in 2011.

It also showed that in 2021, around one in five households (20 per cent) rented privately, compared with 17.9 per cent in 2011.

But short term holiday let owners have previously fought their corner, saying they contribute to the local economy.

John Wright has been letting out a holiday home in Bishopthorpe Road, York, since April, and said: “In Bishy Road where my holiday let is, there are bars and artisan bakeries where people visiting with expendable income spend their money.

 “There has become a co-dependency with those shops and holiday lets to ensure there is a flourishing local economy”.

Rachael Maskell, York Central’s MP, has consistently called for more checks on properties being turned into short term holiday lets.

Ms Maskell had a ‘Holiday Let Licensing scheme Bill’ rejected in December, which sought to regulate the sector, introduce health and safety standards, tackle pressure on housing supply in tourist hotspots, and address problems with anti-social behaviour.

The government has since put forward a short term let registration scheme, where properties would need to meet basic standards and be on a register run by a national body, through a scheme requiring each property to be listed locally and the introduction of minimum standards, property checks, and fines or even suspensions for breaches of registration.

Another proposal is the introduction of a new planning ‘use class’.

Government proposals say this should be a “further step to help give local communities greater ability to control the number of short term lets in their area and support sustainable communities.”

The impact of short term lets on communities span further than drunken holidaymakers getting home late at night.

The same government proposal says: “The premises may be left vacant for part of the year, fewer of the premises are available for the local community for long term rental or to buy.

“Those who use the premises for short periods do not contribute to the community, nor do they access local services which can impact adversely on local services such as schools, health and public transport.  “Such properties may also attract business rates rather than Council Tax.”