Short-term Lets: National Registration

Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons am ar 22 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Selaine Saxby Selaine Saxby Ceidwadwyr, North Devon

What progress her Department has made on introducing a national registration system for short-term lets.

Photo of Duncan Baker Duncan Baker Ceidwadwyr, North Norfolk

What progress her Department has made on introducing a national registration system for short-term lets.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Ceidwadwyr, Harrow East

What progress her Department has made on introducing a national registration system for short-term lets.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

The Government have delivered the legal framework for a registration scheme for short-term lets in England under the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 and have consulted on the scheme’s design. On Monday we announced that we will implement a national mandatory registration scheme across all of England. We will set out further detail later this year on how the register will operate.

Photo of Selaine Saxby Selaine Saxby Ceidwadwyr, North Devon

I thank the Minister for her answer, and I thank the Secretary of State for her engagement on this issue both now and in her previous role as Housing Minister. It is great news that there will be a mandatory short-term lets register, which will hopefully begin to relieve some of the pressure on our local housing market. How can we ensure that North Devon’s tourist economy fully benefits from these changes?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

My hon. Friend is a real champion for her local Devon tourist economy, and she is aware of the challenges that tourism can present in local communities, especially when it comes to short-term lets, which can make it too expensive for people working in the tourism industry to live near their job. This is a difficult issue, and we are trying to strike the right balance between people being able to have second homes and ensuring that hotels have a level playing field and that the local community has the right accommodation.

I appreciate my hon. Friend’s campaigning on this issue. The next phase of the project will work with the sector to get the details of the registration scheme right. We will be reaching out to representatives of the visitor economy and likely users of the scheme to make sure it delivers for everybody as simply as possible.

Photo of Duncan Baker Duncan Baker Ceidwadwyr, North Norfolk

North Norfolk has a significant number of holiday lets, Airbnbs and the like. I am glad that the Minister says the Government will look at this in moderation because, in life, too much of anything is sometimes a bad thing. There is a difference, a nuance, between a person who rents out a room in their home via Airbnb to earn some extra income and whole streets and areas being turned into holiday lets. Can the Minister assure me that we will properly consider the nuances?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

I can provide my hon. Friend with that assurance. We are aware that the proliferation of short-term lets has caused real concern in communities such as his. We do not want to clamp down in a way that will make life difficult for people who rent out their rooms on a very irregular basis, but as he said, when whole streets are causing a problem, we think the most important thing is that we get an understanding of the scale of the problem. Our scheme is designed to give us that data and the next steps can be taken after that.

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Cambridge has long suffered from the antisocial behaviour problems associated with short-term lets and Cambridge City Council has long asked for action, so I welcome this long overdue announcement. Will the Minister say more about enforcement and the resources that are needed for councils to enforce, so that we can actually deal with the antisocial behaviour problems that, sadly, too often come with short-term lets?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

I thank the hon. Member for raising the issues in Cambridge city, and I appreciate that in a city such as that that there will have been significant problems in this area. He may be aware that this was a joint announcement with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. We are there to put the mandatory register together, which gives us the data that local authorities can use, but it will be for DLUHC to look at the some of the powers that can be implemented to deal with the antisocial behaviour problems that the hon. Gentleman cites.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

I thank the Minister for those answers. Tourism and short-term lets are very important to my constituency, and I understand the issues clearly. There are benefits—it is not all negatives—and it is important that the positives are marked up as well. Let me ask her a simple question: now that we have a reactivated Northern Ireland Assembly on the go and working hard—[Interruption.]—will she share some of her ideas on this issue with it, and in particular, with the council in my Strangford constituency?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

I thank the hon. Member for his question, but unfortunately, on the point of substance, somebody coughed and I slightly missed the key point—I apologise. I think he asked about sharing expertise with Northern Ireland. We will be happy to do so, because it is important to learn the lessons of how these issues are being addressed across the country. In Labour-run Wales, there is a real mess over how to deal with the issue of holiday accommodation, and the situation is similar in Scotland. We want to learn those lessons for the English scheme and we will be happy to share the lessons with Northern Ireland.