Proposal to introduce planning restrictions and letting limits on Airbnbs in Thanet

AirBnb

A proposal will be put before council next week to introduce planning restrictions on short term lets and  a 90 day per year letting limit for entire homes in Thanet on Airbnb.

The motion is being proposed by Margate ward councillor Rob Yates who says he is concerned about the impact of Airbnbs on Thanet’s rental market.

At the next council meeting on October 14, Cllr Yates will propose a motion, saying: “This council notes with concern the ongoing issues raised by residents around the growth in Airbnbs in Thanet, especially in relation to the reduction in long term rentable properties.

“We welcome the majority of visitors to Thanet, who make an important contribution to our economy, but we hear residents’ concerns and wish to take action to control this serious issue which is damaging our community and damaging the reputation of Airbnb.

“This council recognises that it currently does not possess the powers to intervene and regulate these properties, and that this is a problem faced by many local authorities across the country. “Therefore, this council resolves to: a) Work within the Local Plan Cabinet Advisory Group to try and introduce planning restrictions that affect short-term rentals, such as change of use regulations that are required in Greater London to turn a property into an Airbnb property.

“b) Ask the Leader of the council to write to Marie Lorimer, the UK Public Policy Manager at Airbnb to request a meeting and seek to proactively introduce a 90 day annual limit for entire home rentals in Thanet within the Airbnb platform.

“Airbnb currently has a lock on their platform that does not allow Greater London entire home properties to be rented out for more than 90 days a year.”

His concerns will be echoed by independent Broadstairs councillor Ruth Bailey who has put forward a question  concerning the shortage of rental properties and the associated proliferation of Airbnbs in Thanet.

She says: “I have become increasingly aware of the plight of people trying desperately to find a place to rent in Thanet. I even know of a lady in her 80s in a desperate situation who has been issued a Section 21 (eviction) notice but cannot find anywhere to rent so is temporarily staying with her brother.

“There currently seems to be a real issue around the lack of available rental property and this unavailability seems to be exacerbated, at least in part, by the proliferation of Airbnbs.

“A shortage of rental properties will also put more pressure on the authority in terms of having to find additional temporary accommodation to house people so this is a serious problem that has ramifications for the council.”

Cllr Bailey will ask what powers Thanet council has, possibly through the Local Plan, to address the issue, how many Airbnbs there are in Thanet and  whether there is a local requirement to register Airbnbs with the council.

Data from Visit Kent shows a growing Airbnb sector with Thanet recording 1,089 active rentals with a rental growth of 373% between 2016 and 2019.

Thanet council housing documents say: ”Thanet has become an increasingly attractive place to live, particularly for retirees leaving London, young professionals purchasing second homes in Thanet and the rise of accommodation being used for Airbnb and short term lets.

“However, this has had a corresponding impact on the local market, where rents have increased significantly at a time of major welfare reform, resulting in more and more accommodation becoming inaccessible and unaffordable to those on low incomes or at risk of homelessness.”

Economic impact studies by Airbnb say that in 2013 the platform generated US$824 million in economic activity in the UK and supported 11,600 jobs.

The study, based on the industry in London and Edinburgh, also said 80% of Airbnb hosts in the UK rent out only the home they live in—their primary residence—and use the money they earn to help afford the increasing costs of living.

The report claims Airbnb travellers in the UK stay longer and spend more than typical visitors and says around 42 percent of hosts are self-employed, freelancers, or part-time workers. It adds that Airbnb grows and diversifies tourism in the UK, and that Airbnb guests stay on average 4.6 nights (compared to 3.1 nights for typical visitors to the UK) and spend twice as much over the course of their trips ($1,496 compared to $713 for the average visitor).

The council meeting at TDC’s Cecil Street offices starts at 7pm.

How do we increase affordable housing in Thanet?

41 Comments

    • Kathy could you please ask Rob and Ruth or TDC if “entire homes in Thanet on Airbnb” qualify for “small business rates relief”? My understanding, is that if the relief applies and the “Rateable Value” is less than £15,000, the business is “zero rated”. Most AirBnB properties in Thanet would have a Rateable Value far less than this. Therefore no Council Tax and no Business Rates are payable. BUT this is just my understanding and I would love to know from Rob, Ruth and/or TDC if this is correct? My apologies in advance if I am incorrect.

      • Also can it made clear what percentage the short let market represents in comparison to the long let market? Both play an important part in Thanet. Have tried to look at how many stock long lets are occupied in Thanet but haven’t been able to find the figure easily.

  1. There are well over 65,000 houses in Thanet. If people think scrapping 1,000 AirBnBs will affect house prices, they are deluded.

    What it WILL do is seriously hurt Thanet’s tourism industry – one of the few sources of jobs in the area.

      • We barely have any hotels or B&Bs. We do need more of them too. But trashing AirBnB isn’t the answer, and it will not impact property prices. I know targeting AirBnBs may seem like a comfortable and easy solution, but I’m sorry, it’s just not as simple as that. AirBnBs make up less than 2% of the properties in Thanet.

        • But it should be looked at more as to what percentage of homes it has removed from the 1st time buyer and rental market. In some parts of cliftonville it has taken nearly 10% of the previous rental stock. Though there are already signs that some of these are on the market for sale , presumably as with the demise of covid the demand for uk based breaks is,likely to reduce and there are those who’ve decided Thanet is not what they hoped for.
          Looking at a problem when its at its peak is probably not the best time to do so, though certainly something to keep an eye on. In respect of hotels and more traditional holiday accomodation , airbnb has a huge advantage in its lack of legistlative, employment, tax costs. Allow airbnb type accomodation to gain too great a foothold and you risk losing hotels etc.

          • Do you have a source for the 10% claim please? Would be good to see the evidence. ‘In some parts of Cliftonville’ sounds like a very selective sample!

            In terms of the legislation and tax – AirBnB follows exactly the same model as normal traditional holiday lets – subject to health and safety regs and the same UK taxes. AirBnB is literally just the booking platform.

          • The 10% figure is purely my number from having been a landlord in cliftoncville for 20 years and having seen the properties advertised on airbnb along with the proliferation of cleaning services and key safes ( though these are likely equally shared between holiday lets and those who have visiting carers). Please note i am referring to a % of the rented stock not the overall numbers of homes. The amount of property avaialble for residential letting is much reduced on what it was 2 years back, in creased demand and reduced supply for various reasons have led to this pretty much historic low, especially at the local housing allowance level of rents.
            I very much doubt that every airbnb listing has a current gas safety cert, legionella risk assessment, electrical installation condition report, fire risk assessment, employee liability, permission from freeholder , to name but a few. As for the taxation issue many are let ( not all ) as being someones primary residence and so benefit from the 7.5k tax free allowance. Then there is the issue of business rates.
            Nothing wrong with any of these things , but examples why many properties have moved to short term holiday lets, especially in the current climate, though with the end of covid demand is likely to reduce .

  2. This will just stop investment in Thanet. Can’t people see the upturn in the area especially Cliftonville. Why locals are so against tourism is just beyond me.

    • Upturn Cliftonville…. An oxymoron surely. We go on holiday in the Caribbean, anyone taking a holiday in Cliftonville. Sorry. I think it’s called extreme or shock tourism, Chernobyl, Colombia, Cliftonville

    • How about the locals who were born in Thanet and are unable to rent let alone buy a property. Unfortunately we are becoming like Brighton with the DFL being able to pay more for properties. So what is there to invest in in Cliftonville or Margate, apart from arty farty projects associated with that monstrosity called the Turner Centre and Dreamland, which from what I can tell don’t give a monkeys about the local population as long as they are racking it in, very few rides but a lot of noise and before you remark on well Dreamland was there before you yes I agree it was as a fun fair and not a music venue

  3. My sons family have been looking to rent property in Margate or surrounding area for 3 months now with no place to move to ,landlord decided to sell despite saying it was long term, as to the asking rents this is a joke over £1000 a month
    so that wipes out his wages as to the wifes wages by the time child care is covered that leave a small amount to live on. They do not claim any benefits so therefore get no help., so any place that returns to letting full time is a bonus for locals

    • This is because TDC has failed miserably to hold the line on 30% of new homes being genuinely affordable.
      By all means regulate AirBNB etc but do it within the context of a Leisure/Visitor strategy not as a kneejerk idea for the usual political headline grabbing soundbite.

      • The term affordable is too many things to too many people. Most seem to think it should be rent at the level of trsditional historical council housing, but it has to be remembered that this was built to far lower standards often over 50 years ago and was paid for long ago, you’ve only to look at the levels of disrepair and neglected maintenance to see that such traditional rents are not enough , it’s impossible to build and rent new houses on the same basis unles you have huge levels of public subsidy which just isn’t there.
        It’s why huge swathes of ex local authority housing was transferred to housing associations who then sell off the older stock when it becomes empty as it enables them to use the proceeds to buy new stock ( using the money they have as a deposit for a mortgage on the cheaper developer built homes) and the rent at “affordable “ levels of rent.
        It leaves the old style council housing pretty much solely for low income tenants who are able to access the benefit system and tlocal housing allowance ( which is effectively the new social rent outside of old council stock) affordability tests are in place for the newer properties.

  4. Airbnb hosts: only rent out rooms in your primary residential property, and sell any properties that can be a home to a family.
    Airbnb guests: stay in hotels, resorts, regulated bed and breakfasts, and in real commercially-zoned holiday rental properties, not in residential neighbourhoods. If you want to use Airbnb in an ethical manner, do your due diligence to ensure that the property you’re renting is a bona fide owner-occupied unit and not a unit that has been taken away from a family. It’s deeply troubling to enjoy family holiday time in a space when you know another family has lost theirs.

  5. We have got to do something for our young people to be able to live locally and contribute. Why should dwellings be let by outsiders for outsiders .

  6. Good idea. No doubt property, especially near to the sea, is being bought to use as AirBnB is reducing the rental market therefore increasing rental prices. It needs to be controlled ollled No one us saying it needs to be stopped Balance as always is the key

    • Correct it needs to be balanced and as its a ‘market’ it will naturally find its own balance. What this proposal will do is stop it, that will then filter down to tourism and jobs will be lost for locals surely?

  7. Seems to me that everyone is angry about the price of renting, and rightly so. However, AirBnB is being made the scapegoat when in reality it is a small contributing factor to a much larger issue.

    AirBnB is the only accommodation I use whilst travelling (UK or international) as its so much cheaper and nicer, and it is the only viable accommodation when on holiday with the family as hotels are too small for large families.

    House prices and rental prices rising are a national and international issue. Take action against the government, the council, the media, the bigger landlords, and the blatant inaction of the public long before you get angry at a modern service company that gives ordinary people the ability to take a piece of the pie that’s historically only belonged to the 1%

    Oh and stop voting for the tories. They have never had your interests at heart.

    • Nicely said Ed. Short letting is used by tourists, workers and even family’s in between homes plus a number of other reasons. These short let properties are not to blame for housing prices or lack of long letting stock. Short letting has a place in society or it wouldn’t exist and if TDC can’t see that then they should look into it properly.

    • Well said. AirBnBS make up less than 2% of properties in Thanet. Even if all AirBnBs were scrapped overnight, I’m afraid property prices wouldn’t be affected.

      I know it can be tempting to look for a simple solution to a complicated problem, but I’m afraid just scrapping AirBnBs doesn’t make sense and would probably do more harm than good.

      • They aren’t trying to scrap Airbnbs just regulate them. The numbers might not be high now but they are increasing rapidly so there’s a need to look to the future. Of course the problem is much wider than this and more affordable flats need to be built but this could be a relatively easy win. No one wants to discourage tourists but there needs to be a balance between visitor accommodation and adequate properties for residents.

  8. So we have a councillor that alledgedly was swimming in Walpole bay lido , despite having seen signs saying not to and apparently claimed to have seen a worker open the sluices. Is he really bright enough to have anything to do with other peoples lives?
    Air BnB offers property owners very good returns on their properties and is very popular with second home owners. As pointed out a good number of these properties would previously have been in the private residential letting sector so is a contributing factor to the lack of available property to rent in thanet and rising rents ( though in reality they have now just about caught up with inflation over last 20 years)
    The problem with having a 90 day limit is that an owner can airbnb from march to september ( stopping when they reach the 90 day limit) then rent out as a home on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for the rest of the year , asking the tenant to leave the following march.
    As pointed out above an short term holiday let falls under different tax rules and effectively pays none. Compare that to a rental property for which the landlord will be liable for 100% council tax if its empty, ( even if previous tenant had a discount) TDC don’t have to apply this they choose to. It discourages landlords from refurbishing properties between tenants . TDC have helped make this particular bed , let them lie in it.

  9. Why do people continue to think theyre entitled to control other peoples property? Also why do people think theyre entitled to a cheap long term flat in a town that is a holiday destination? (by occupying that flat long term youre pushing up the price of people visiting the seaside for their holidays and depriving the local economy of tourism income). Landlords will still choose 90 days premium airbnb income and then be vacant for rest of the year whilst the Government insist on stacking the laws against them on long term lets. Council money grab is all this is!

  10. Perhaps people who rent Airbnb properties take greater care of the property and contents that long or short term lets do not.
    Any damage caused by an Airbnb holiday maker is recoverable from the holiday maker. Any damage caused by a long or short term let tenant is usually not recoverable and the former tenant cannot be traced it is a loss. If the former tenant can be traced then which property owner can afford to receive £5.00 per month on a £5,000 damage claim.
    Perhaps if the council were more diligent on checking and making sure it is only a single person living in a property and not letting out a or rooms then the council would receive a greater income.
    Many landlords do not trust letting agents to manage their properties.

  11. Airbnb is not the problem. Londoners are moving to Thanet in droves due to cheap housing market & driving both rental & buying prices up. With some buying 2nd homes. Blame the Tories who have failed to provide affordable council homes. The private sector is in control of unaffordable new homes in Thanet. Not everyone can have a mortgage or want to buy. Renting should be made cheap to go with wages in Thanet. Sir Roger Gale has been MP for 30yrs+ comfortable and no longer effective or finding affordablehousing solutions. Blame government housing policy & leave those choosing to get an income through Airbnb’s get on with it. Airbnb has given people opportunity to earn money. If you control how do these people earn money when there are no jobs in Thanet or how do pensioners & those on low income top up their incomes. B&B doesn’t give some people the freedom awarded by Airbn. Thanet should give pressure to central government housing policy.

  12. How ridiculous we live in a holiday area and yet councillors on Thanet district Council try their best to stop anyone visiting the area botany Bay Road closed off the parking exorbitant parking fees anti AirbnbThey’ll be wanting to take the beach away next miserable people being voted in to represent other miserable people, shame on them.
    I will rent my properties out to who I want to rent them to be it one or two days or up to my longest tenant of 15 years.
    Shame of the Gestapo.

  13. The only house that TDC should worry about putting in order is their own house. TDC have over the years Turned Cliftonville from an up- market area to looking like a costa-Le-slums with houses of multiple occupation and streets looking like waste recycling centres with over flowing bins and lack of street cleaning across Thanet.
    I made a short trip to a friend’s birthday in the USA and whilst my back is turned Yates and Bailey sneak this preposterous proposal in.

  14. Limiting Airbnb to 90 days is not a terrible idea but what we really need is some affordable housing.
    Does anyone have an idea for a brownfield site ready for development into housing/school/infrastructure? What’s that I her you say? MANSTON.
    Good idea.

  15. …or turn Manston into a polluting freight hub. That will clear out the area pretty quick, kill off the Airbnb business completely and provide loads of “affordable housing” because no one will want to live here.

  16. This is part of a much bigger problem. Thanet has the highest number of second homes and empty properties in the whole of Kent. The Local Plan estimates that 20% of new homes will be bought by Londoners moving out (perhaps using a second homes). Whilst people are homeless or in appalling accommodation. Thanet needs levelling up (or perhaps levelling and starting again?)

  17. Something desperately needs doing to bring these properties (Airbnb, Serviced Apartments) under local authority regulations for lettings businesses.
    There are too many getting away within loopholes that they don’t pay council tax on and do not need fire regulations or even a change of use application. Many have nuisances such as antisocial behaviour that disturbs residents living next to them. Nothing can be done to alleviate issues when they do not need to adhere to the authority regs. The sooner the better with this!

  18. I do seem to ask myself how this dangerous individual has managed to worm his way into the council at a tourist destination?
    Rob Yates you clearly don’t understand Thanet at all going by your recent quotes online.
    “damaging” impact Airbnbs are having on a popular coastal spot
    “killing the community”
    15 rental properties advertised on Rightmove
    Thanet will end up like Newquay, with empty properties in the towns for half of the year
    “When the winter hits, business owners rely on people who permanently live in the area to support them. If the community has moved on, these businesses will go also
    All very dramatic claims that will get you noticed I’m sure but let’s take a closer look shall we.
    How can AirBnb’s be damaging a popular coastal spot? It’s ‘popular’, yes? Great, now we have established it’s popular maybe let’s give the people who visit somewhere to stay then? Now they are here and staying maybe they will visit the local area and spend money in the local businesses who you claim, don’t want them there. Although you also claim you only welcome a ‘majority’ of tourists , not sure what ones you don’t welcome?
    Thanet is a tourist destination and has been for hundreds of years (in case you didn’t know Cllr), so tourist destinations need ‘tourists’ to survive? Thanet is thriving now, yes? That means that people have jobs, yes? Yet you claim that its ‘killing the community’?
    You then claim that Thanet will have empty properties for half the year? ok, it actually has a occupancy rate of between 77% – 81%, and even during lock down 69% helping to house frontline workers. So, I’m not sure where you get your figures from Cllr? Although you want to slash tourism from 80% to 25%, so I guess figures are not your forte? Also, that occupancy rate of 80% means local people have jobs in the winter too.
    You claim there are only 15 rentals available in Margate although you fail to say the units available in Thanet are over 80? Once again, another dramatic statement Cllr.
    In another article you compare Margate to Tonbridge? Laughable really that one, but once again creates another dramatic statement Cllr. (just in case you didn’t realise Cllr, Tonbridge doesn’t have 11 beaches and 20 miles of coastline, that’s the difference).
    Cllr Yates, you clearly need to get your facts correct, you and your motion will send Thanet back to the dark days of the 1990s. Airbnb merely takes the slack of lack of hotels and guest houses in the area. This year every Airbnb and hotel was full, and more capacity was needed yet you want to reduce it, if you do this people will not come and stay, businesses will fail, locals will lose their jobs, Airbnb’s will be sold off, the maintenance workers, the cleaners and the laundry workers who keep the extremely valuable sector afloat will be unemployed too.
    May I suggest you go back and rethink again or maybe just move to Tonbridge is an easier option.
    I declare I do not own an Airbnb and I live in a rented house, I do work within the sector.

  19. What next from tdc ?
    well i had a property let out by the company named, now returning uk renters contact me directly or via a third party booking system in Europe.
    I also live next door but leave the rental management to others.
    Currently have a cleaner doing two full days per week, a manager couple, qualified local technicians doing gas,electric, wood burner and other compliance reports in between lettings.
    Purchase replacement items in our local high st, around £150 pw.
    Why does tdc want me to stop employing locals and cut my spending in local shops.

    Ok its a goldmine,maybe tdc should get in on the holiday accom act.Provides me an income Better than working.

    The staycation idea is good, so good have purchased off plan in royalsands to be another rental property.
    Its currently advertised abroad and has been reserved & paid for three months next summer which covers year one mortgage & all other costs.
    Know quite a few holiday landlords, they have influence. Watch this space.

    • What a stupid idea! The council is yet again passing the blame to private individuals trying to earn a bit of extra cash instead of doing their job of building and providing affordable homes! Airbnb brings in much needed money to local economies which trickles down to everyone in the end.

  20. The councillors are clearly off the mark. The recent fashion of working from home means people living in London are moving out snapping up properties. Traditional landlords have enjoyed high house prices as a result and exited the sector. This is the real issue of the moment, not AirBnB growth.

    There is no data to support the fact that forcing the private market to exit AirBnb will result in said houses becoming available for rent. The houses will be sold to people desperate to move into the area.

  21. The root cause is TDC inability to approve new house building.
    Look at the delays where the Councilors keep voting against the development on Shottendane Road Margate, the Councilors say they want more social housing but the developer is also being asked to put massive investment in Road infrastructure, the Councilors want their cake and to eat it, then suggest AirBnB are the issue.

    Broadstairs Town Council when reviewing planning applications during the Consultation either make the comment back to TDC “no comment” or “make negative comments, favorite is suggesting over development” not a positive word has ever left Broadstairs Town Council during the consultation process.

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