08 Sep 2022
A controversial Labour council aims to make life more expensive for landlords who let out whole properties via Airbnb or other short let platforms.
Oxford council, which recently started a five year landlord licensing scheme across the entire city boundary, is next week considering a proposal to start charging for waste collections at whole house short lets registered as commercial businesses.
This move would follow the example of councils including Scarborough, Isle of Wight, Dorset and Hampshire and would mean that such properties would no longer be provided with a free domestic waste collection.
If cabinet approves the proposals, the council will notify the owners of whole house short lets registered as businesses and either agree a commercial waste contract with them or complete the removal of domestic waste containers by the end of the year. Enforcement action against non-compliant short lets registered as businesses will begin in 2023.
The council, citing the short lets monitoring service AirDNA, claims there are 1,591 active short let rentals in Oxford. More than half of these – 869, or 55 per cent – are let as entire properties.
To date 104 properties in Oxford have stopped paying council tax and registered as self-catering holiday businesses.
There is no requirement for short lets to be licensed or for landlords to automatically notify the council when a property has been converted into a short let.
The council also claims that it is difficult to take action on issues like antisocial behaviour and nuisance when there is a stream of different people using a property.
Since 2018, the council has repeatedly called for the government to introduce effective regulation of short lets. It says that councils should have more powers enabling them to take action without needing to rely on complaints and a lengthy enforcement process.
A spokeswoman says: “We first called for powers to regulate short lets in 2018 because we believe the uncontrolled loss of permanent homes in the city to holiday letting accommodation will only exacerbate Oxford’s housing crisis.
“The government needs to act to ensure there’s a proper level playing field with the rest of the rental market and other highly regulated commercial businesses. Until then, we will continue to use our planning enforcement powers against unauthorised change of planning use class, and we are now removing this unfair advantage of free waste collection for whole house short lets that are registered as businesses. They will need to organise a commercial waste agreement contract just like other businesses in the city; it’s only fair as these properties avoid paying council tax.”
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