The government will review the impact of holiday lets in the UK in a bid to help those living in popular tourism locations.
The growing popularity of platforms like Airbnb have been blamed on dwindling long-term rental stock, as some landlords have been able to secure better returns by converting regular buy-to-lets to holiday lets.
There are also fears that the growth of holiday let rentals has caused a rise of anti-social behaviour, including noise, waste and drunken behaviour in local communities.
Stuart Andrew, housing minister, said: “Holiday let sites like Airbnb have helped boost tourism across the country, but we need to make sure this doesn’t drive residents out of their communities.
“We are already taking action to tackle the issue of second and empty homes in some areas by empowering councils to charge up to double the rate of council tax.
“This review will give us a better understanding of how short term lets are affecting housing supply locally to make sure the tourism sector works for both residents and visitors alike.”
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, feels these issues with Airbnb are a problem of the government’s own making.
He said: “The growth in holiday lets is a direct consequence of the government’s attack on long-term rented housing.
“Tax policies actively discourage long-term investment in the private rented sector by landlords. With a Housing Secretary that wants to shrink the size of the sector, it is little wonder many landlords have jumped ship to the holiday lets market.
“As a result, for many in holiday hot spots finding a long-term home to rent is all but impossible. With demand for such housing at a record high, all it is doing is increasing rents when tenants can least afford it.
“The government needs to end its anti-landlord attitude and develop pro-growth tax plans to help renters access the housing they need.”
Airbnb listing data showed a 33% increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018.
A typical UK Airbnb host earns on average of £3,100 a year.
The government is also looking to ensure holiday let properties are safe with a ‘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.
There could also be physical checks to make sure regulations like health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed.
David Weston, chairman of the Bed & Breakfast Association, said: “We are pleased that the government is launching this call for evidence. It is the right time to consider how we protect all consumers, regardless of an accommodation owner’s business model, and level the playing-field between traditional business and those on newer platforms.
“The call for evidence will help the government strike the right balance between achieving those aims, yet avoiding imposing disproportionate new burdens or costs on small businesses.
“We will be playing a constructive role in helping the government develop a proportionate solution, and we call on all tourism accommodation owners to take part in the call for evidence, and ensure your views are heard.”