• Mon. May 27th, 2024

‘Short lets deprive our city of much needed homes,’ say Oxford councillors

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 21, 2022

FRESH calls have been made for Oxford City Council to regulate properties rented out entirely as short lets.

Councillors say that over the last decade there has been a rapid increase in the number of short lets in Oxford, since the rise of Airbnb and Homeaway.

The council considers this to be a “major problem” and since 2018, it has repeatedly called for a licensing scheme putting whole house short lets on a level playing field with other private rented and commercial tourist accommodation.

READ MORE: Plans for 10 new 'affordable homes' in Oxford face opposition by neighbours and councillors

A citywide selective licensing scheme introduced this month means that all private rented homes in Oxford now need a licence – however, properties let as holiday homes are exempt under the Housing Act 2004.

Ian Wright, head of regulatory services and community safety at the council, said: “Short lets deprive our city of much needed homes, exacerbating our affordability crisis.

“Antisocial and illegal behaviour by people using short lets are a blight on our communities. And the uncontrolled rise in short lets risks parts of our city becoming a virtual ghost town, impacting schools and other local services.

“While we do what we can to tackle the impact of problematic short lets our powers are limited. We first called for the government to introduce effective regulation of short lets in 2018. They’ve belatedly acknowledged that short lets are an issue.”

The council responded to a Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport consultation reiterating previous calls for a mandatory licensing scheme for whole house short lets.

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi