Originally written as a column for Inside Housing.
It’s the end of summer and the tourists are going home but the housing problems they leave behind are here to stay.
This time last year I write about the momentum behind moves to tackle the blight of second homes in Wales and in parts of England like Devon and Cornwall.
Second homes are not new in themselves but combine them with the rise of Airbnb and short-term lets and in many areas the problem for local people has become less finding an affordable rented home than finding a rented home at all.
Anecdotal evidence I’m hearing where I live in Cornwall suggests that these trends have got far worse in the last 12 months. In the process, more assumptions about housing are being turned on their head.
Just down the road from me, the landlord of a large house converted into flats has just given all the tenants two months’ notice. One has been there 17 years, a couple in their 70s have lived there more than 20 years, and they have always paid their rent on time, but none of that matters. The house is being converted into short-term holiday lets.
A seaside town in Cornwall is possibly an extreme example of the trend but problems with short-term lets are being reported all around the country and I can think of many more villages nearby where the situation is far worse, with communities full of second homes and Airbnbs and second homes and few full-time residents.Read the rest of this entry »