0:02 AM, 20th June 2023, About 9 months ago 3
A report revealing a significant increase in second home registrations in London has prompted leading figures to call for government intervention in the holiday lettings market.
The data, collected by Generation Rent, indicates that the number of non-primary residences in the city has rocketed since 2019.
And that’s despite pandemic-related travel restrictions and shifting domestic property interests.
The findings show that several London areas have seen a huge growth in the registration of domestic properties as furnished, non-primary homes between October 2019 and October 2022.
Generation Rent’s acting director, Dan Wilson Craw, says this rise is a looming threat to resident tenants.
He also points to just 0.3% of second homes being officially registered as holiday lets as an example of ineffective regulation.
Mr Wilson Craw told the Evening Standard: “The unregulated and undertaxed holiday let sector is out of control.
“It is a concern that homes rented to tourists are lost to the supply available to local people.”
He called for greater regulation of second home use and for a licensing scheme that would ‘stop the inflating of property values’.
The data highlights that Southwark’s tally of second homes soared from 523 before Covid hit to 2,951 last autumn.
In Hammersmith and Fulham, the total grew by 38% in three years to 2,688, and Enfield’s stock of non-primary residences jumped by more than half to 1,691.
Although some boroughs saw drastic drops in second home ownership over the same period — there were 1,076 fewer in Kensington and Chelsea and a similar fall in Barnet — London’s total number of second homes edged up 0.5% to stand at 46,158 last October.
Generation Rent also says that lots of landlords in London may be classifying their properties as second homes instead of short-term lets to avoid paying higher business rates.
It says that just 122 properties were registered for short-term lettings in the city.
To qualify for this classification by HMRC, homes must be accessible to holidaymakers for a minimum of 210 days per year and rented for at least half of those days.
This alleged tactic has raised concerns among housing advocates and local authorities, who argue that the misclassification of short-term rental properties as second homes could contribute to housing shortages and negatively impact the overall housing market.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan echoed this call, and a spokesperson told the newspaper: “London boroughs are losing tens of thousands of homes to short-term let use each year, worsening London’s acute lack of housing supply.
“Legislation attempting to restrict homeowners to a 90-night limit on short-term lets in London has failed due to a lack of enforcement.
“The mayor is concerned that the planning reforms being proposed by the government will not effectively protect homes from use as short-term lets and believes a mandatory register is an important step forward.”
The spokesperson added: “To safeguard the supply of permanent homes, the mayor proposes a licensing scheme that allows local government to control the total number of homes used as short-term lets.”
A spokesperson for Airbnb said: “The typical listing in London is rented for just 43 nights — far less than the 90-night limit — and four in 10 say the additional income helps them afford their homes and rising living costs.
“Airbnb takes housing concerns seriously, which is why we have enforced restrictions on short-term rentals for more than five years.
“We welcome regulation and we put forward proposals for a UK Host register in 2021, which are already subject to government consultation.”