The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are keen to consider alternatives to registration and licensing schemes including non-regulatory alternatives.
Impact of online platforms
The review follows the Tourism Recovery Plan, published in June 2021 which is intended to consider changes necessary in the light of the growth of online platforms for holiday lets and includes a commitment to consider a possible Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. Data shows that Airbnb listing data increased by 33 per cent in UK listings between 2017 and 2018 alone.
In Scotland there is already legislation in progress for a licensing scheme for holiday lets, certification is required in Northern Ireland and the Welsh Government intends to introduce a similar scheme. Therefore, the UK Government needs to ensure they develop a fuller understanding of the current market in England, and future policy responses are proportionate and evidence-based.
Range of policy proposals
The call for evidence notes that measures that benefit the tourism sector can have detrimental impacts on the local housing market, such as the availability of properties for rent. It is important to achieve a balance. Concerns about health and safety standards in holiday lets are also a key factor in the review. Therefore, factual information about short-term lets, and views on the positive and negative impacts are being sought.
The announcement of the review mentions several policy options being considered, including:
- physical checks of premises to ensure regulations in areas including health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed
- a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme with spot checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety
- a self-certification scheme for hosts to register with before they can operate
- better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers
The scope does not extend to cover every potential issue related to short-term and holiday letting. For example, it excludes the criteria governing when holiday lets become eligible for business rates rather than council tax, plus second-home ownership.
However, a catch-all question is included if respondents feel that important issues have not been covered.
Lobbying for members
Propertymark will be responding to the consultation on behalf of members, who are encouraged to both feed views directly into our Policy and Campaigns Team and to respond directly to demonstrate the level of interest in this important issue.
The deadline for responses is 21 September 2022, and the UK Government has stated a further consultation on specific policy proposals will take place later this year.