In the trendy district dubbed “Shoreditch-on-sea” councillors plan is to restrict short-term letting over fears the practice is “killing the community”

Margate in Kent has experienced and explosion of popularity and has been dubbed “Shoreditch on Sea” as a new trendy enclave on the south coast. The result has been a large increase in the number of properties devoted to short term Airbnb style lettings.

This trend in turn leads to a shortage of long-term lettings availability for locals who want to rent and work in the town.

Thanet District Council, which also covers the popular Broadstairs and Ramsgate, heard Councillor Rob Yates propose a motion to introduce letting limits and planning restrictions across the entire Thanet district.

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Airbnb’s 90 day limit

Councillor Yates want to press the San Francisco based Airbnb online rentals company to do what it did in London and Manchester and impose a 90-day annual limit for all the home rentals in Thanet district advertised on it’s platform.

Councillors and residents living in these south coast resorts are concerned about the problems families face trying to find somewhere to live permanently, as with an estimated 300 plus homes devoted to short-lets, there are fewer longer lets available.

Mr Yates a Labour councillor for Margate is to bring up the issue at the next meeting of Thanet District Council. Mr Yates has said:

“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.”

A recent survey of the properties available to rent in Margate found there were over 300 homes available for short term letting on Airbnb, while there were only 15 properties to rent advertised on the property website RightMove.

Rule changes to be considered

Government ministers have for some time been considering changing the planning rules to require all owners of second homes to get planning permission before they can rent them out as a holiday lets.

The proposal is included in planned changes to the planning legislation designed to provide respite for communities in strong tourist areas including Cornwall, the Lake District and the Cotswolds all of which have high concentrations of second homes.

However, as Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has now been replace by Michael Gove in chair, in the recent Government re-shuffle, the proposed range of reforms to the planning rules is as yet unclear.

It has been estimated that there are around half a million people who have at least one second home in the UK, so to introduce such a rule change, it is feared, could deter genuine buy-to-let investors who are providing much needed long-term residential lettings.

Councillor Yates is also recommending introducing a requirement for a change-of-use planning application to be made prior to anyone operating a short-term let.

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