Restrictions to the short-term letting of whole residential properties have moved one step closer after a proposal from B&NES Labour Group received cross party support at a meeting of Full Council. If adopted by Government, the proposals would help to address widespread concern about the impact of homesharing services such as Airbnb on the local housing market.

Launching the debate, Deputy Leader of B&NES Labour Group, Cllr Joe Rayment (Labour, Twerton), said “Short-term lets such as Airbnb can be good for tourism and for consumers. However they have not been regulated and the system is being abused.

“We are losing properties from the rental market and they are now being used solely for tourism.

“We need to prevent any further loss to the private rental sector at a time when we have a huge housing crisis”.

Leader of B&NES Labour Group, Cllr Robin Moss (Labour, Westfield) said “The loss of accommodation in the private rental sector is just one of many concerns.

“For some people, there is the worry of living next door to a ‘party house’. For others there is the threat to the established B&B and hotel market.

“We don’t wish to discourage people from renting out spare rooms. We have to remember that we are an authority that relies on tourism and we want to encourage people to visit the area for a number of days and not just whizz in and out on a bus or train for the day. For that we need a stock of affordable accommodation.

“To solve the problem requires changes to Government legislation and because it is an evolving market, this is very much the beginning of the story”.

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