Agenda item - Regulation of Short Term Holiday Lets

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Agenda item

Regulation of Short Term Holiday Lets

Report of the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture.

 

Decision:

RESOLVED that the Committee:

 

1          Noted the content of this report

 

2          Agreed to officers using existing powers to investigate and respond to complaints about short term holiday lets, ensuring a co-ordinated approach to enforcement between services.

 

3.         Agreed that the Interim Director Housing Neighbourhoods and Communities (ID) will determine which is the most appropriate department to be the central point of contact (POC) for residents and others to raise concerns about short term holiday lets with, and for that department to be responsible for co-ordinating the efforts described in 2.2 and liaising with the complainants. The council will also publish by way of general communication and on the website the point of contact details for the public to use. The website to be updated no later than 30th April 2020. The ID to update Committee Members once the actions are complete.

 

4.         Agreed that the Interim Director of Housing, Neighbourhoods and Communities:

 

a.    explore the feasibility of setting up an officer ‘task force,’ that could jointly share information, resident concerns and help address problems raised by short-term holiday lets. This could, for example comprise of a Planning Officer, an EHL Officer, a Community Safety Officer, a Field Officer, a Highways Officer, a representative from Cityclean, a Private Sector Housing Officer and a Licensing Officer.
The feasibility should take into consideration any resource issues among staff teams.

 

b.    Set up mechanisms to further promote the options available to residents affected by a short-term holiday let or ‘party house’, such as through:

 

·         Raising awareness of the role and jurisdiction of the planning enforcement team;

 

·         Raising awareness of the work and role of the council’s noise complaint service (EHL);

 

·         Any other appropriate measures that will build as rich a picture as possible of the city’s short term holiday let/party house lets, particularly in lieu of a registration scheme or any similar powers emerging from government.

 

5.         Noted that officers are actioning the requests in the Notice of Motion to lobby central Government for a national registration scheme and for enhanced enforcement powers for officers to deal with issues caused      by these types of properties and to write to Air BnB regarding a consultation. Committee asks the Chief Executive to write to the              Secretary of State seeking changes or additions to legislations as

           follows:

 

·         Nationally prevent tax evasion similar to those applied in Denmark, where owners’ tax details and income will automatically be sent to the authorities by AirBnB (and other providers),

 

·         Nationally introduce a new planning use class for such holiday lets or measures for such properties to apply for a change of use class from C3 to another appropriate use class (e.g. C1): in order to convert a property from a residential unit into a short-term letting place.

 

·         Introduce measures that permit local authorities to monitor and restrict the maximum number of short-term holiday lets or ‘party houses,’ permitted in one street; similar to the recently approved BHCC Art. 4 Direction for HMOs with a maximum % threshold.

 

·         Detail the feasibility of any short-term holiday let regulations or measures that can help local authorities to reflect the pressure on neighbourhoods and local housing need, such as a minimum, or maximum length of stay in areas of high density ‘short term holiday lets,’ and in high housing need;

 

·         Introduce a requirement that operators in the market share data on the location of properties with the local authority;

 

·         Introduce mechanisms for supporting local authorities to address issues of use/duration/frequency of short-term holiday lets where such measures can have a beneficial effect on local housing need and on communities.

Minutes:

56.1    The report was introduced by Jo Player, Head of Safer Communities.

 

56.2    The Chair confirmed that two Amendments had been received from the Conservatives and the Green Party and that both amendments should be considered together.  He then asked Councillor Nemeth to move the proposed Conservative Amendment.

 

56.3    Councillor Nemeth proposed the Conservative Amendment.  He stated  that he proposed that an existing member of the Council should be employed, so that an extra post would not be created.  He confirmed that it was important that there was a separate point of contact within the team.

 

56.4    Councillor Mears seconded the Conservative Amendment.

 

56.5    The Chair then took a vote and the Conservative Amendment was approved.

 

56.6    The Chair then invited Councillor Ebel to move the Green Party Amendment.

 

56.7    Councillor Ebel moved the Green Party Amendment.  Councillor Ebel gave an example of a hen party which demonstrated the problems that unregulated holiday lets caused, which included noise pollution, residents lack of access to help and anti social behaviour.  She added that the Green amendment would allow Officers to tackle the problem and she felt that both  Amendments could work together.

 

56.8    Councillor Rainey seconded the Green amendment.  Councillor Rainey added that there was a high proportion of properties that were empty during the week and then full at the weekend, citing examples of Camelford Street and Margaret St which both held a high numbers of rented houses, which needed to be regulated in future.

 

56.9    Councillor Powell stated that what had been a simple idea had now become a multi million pound business that had become unbearable and she highlighted point 2.3 on the contact was definitely required.

 

56.10  Councillor Nemeth queried whether council tax payment was an issue within this and the Chair replied that this issue did  not need to be checked.

 

56.11  Councillor Ebel stated that it was not regulated, as in Denmark where Air BnB bookings were sent straight to the tax man.  The Head of Safety stated that she was happy to look into the issue of tax which could be conveyed via email after the meeting.

 

56.12  Councillor Simson stated that she thought the recommendations required strengthening and that the Green amendment required too many resources to implement.

 

56.13  Councillor Hill stated that Labour had already looked into the matter in depth and that this issue needed to be addressed nationally, since the right regulations were not currently in place to do this. She gave the example that a C3 – a whole house let, should be regarded as a business, in order to be regulated properly.  She added that the only issue with the Conservative amendment was a time issue and that time was required to address properly and therefore the Conservative amendment was not realistic.  She therefore concluded that she was minded to support the Green amendment, but not the Conservative amendment.

 

56.14  Police Officer Nick May stated that he had spoken to Council Officers about the issues regarding Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) and drug dealing and that these were significant issues  that the Police did not have the facilities to cope with and that regulations were required.  He stated that they could deal with immediate criminality but that any thing the council could do to strengthen the enforcement on these issues would be welcome.

 

56.15  The Executive Director, Families Children & Learning stated that from an Officer perspective, the Council was happy to set up a contact to the deal with the problem, which would consist of  more than just one single person.  He added that regardless of which amendment was passed, a designated contact point could be put in place.

 

56.16  Councillor Simson confirmed she was happy to vote for the Green amendment due to the urgency of the matter.

 

56.17  There was then a ten minute detailed discussion about how wording of individual paragraphs of the two amendments could be combined and then adjusted in order to be approved.  After the discussion, an agreed composite of both Green and Conservative Amendments was confirmed by the Legal Advisor.

 

56.18  The Chair then took a vote and the revised composite Amendment was agreed.

 

56.19  RESOLVED that the Committee:

 

1        Noted the content of this report

 

2        Agreed to officers using existing powers to investigate and respond to complaints about short term holiday lets, ensuring a co-ordinated approach to enforcement between services.

 

3.       Agreed that the Interim Director Housing Neighbourhoods and Communities (ID) will determine which is the most appropriate department to be the central point of contact (POC) for residents and others to raise concerns about short term holiday lets with, and for that department to be responsible for co-ordinating the efforts described in 2.2 and liaising with the complainants. The council will also publish by way of general communication and on the website the point of contact details for the public to use. The website to be updated no later than 30th April 2020. The ID to update Committee Members once the actions are complete.

 

4.       Agreed that the Interim Director of Housing, Neighbourhoods and Communities:

 

a.    explore the feasibility of setting up an officer ‘task force,’ that could jointly share information, resident concerns and help address problems raised by short-term holiday lets. This could, for example comprise of a Planning Officer, an EHL Officer, a Community Safety Officer, a Field Officer, a Highways Officer, a representative from Cityclean, a Private Sector Housing Officer and a Licensing Officer.
The feasibility should take into consideration any resource issues among staff teams.

 

b.    Set up mechanisms to further promote the options available to residents affected by a short-term holiday let or ‘party house’, such as through:

 

·       Raising awareness of the role and jurisdiction of the planning enforcement team;

 

·       Raising awareness of the work and role of the council’s noise complaint service (EHL);

 

·       Any other appropriate measures that will build as rich a picture as possible of the city’s short term holiday let/party house lets, particularly in lieu of a registration scheme or any similar powers emerging from government.

 

5.       Noted that officers are actioning the requests in the Notice of Motion to lobby central Government for a national registration scheme and for enhanced enforcement powers for officers to deal with issues caused      by these types of properties and to write to Air BnB regarding a consultation. Committee asks the Chief Executive to write to the  Secretary of State seeking changes or additions to legislations as

           follows:

 

·       Nationally prevent tax evasion similar to those applied in Denmark, where owners’ tax details and income will automatically be sent to the authorities by AirBnB (and other providers),

 

·       Nationally introduce a new planning use class for such holiday lets or measures for such properties to apply for a change of use class from C3 to another appropriate use class (e.g. C1): in order to convert a property from a residential unit into a short-term letting place.

 

·       Introduce measures that permit local authorities to monitor and restrict the maximum number of short-term holiday lets or ‘party houses,’ permitted in one street; similar to the recently approved BHCC Art. 4 Direction for HMOs with a maximum % threshold.

 

·       Detail the feasibility of any short-term holiday let regulations or measures that can help local authorities to reflect the pressure on neighbourhoods and local housing need, such as a minimum, or maximum length of stay in areas of high density ‘short term holiday lets,’ and in high housing need;

 

·       Introduce a requirement that operators in the market share data on the location of properties with the local authority;

 

·       Introduce mechanisms for supporting local authorities to address issues of use/duration/frequency of short-term holiday lets where such measures can have a beneficial effect on local housing need and on communities.

Supporting documents:

 


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