Scarborough Council’s cabinet discussed the report which suggests that private landlords in the borough have been evicting tenants in order to use their properties as Airbnb holiday lets, at its meeting on Tuesday July 26.
The council’s performance management report for the fourth quarter of 2021/22 states that a “perfect storm” of events has caused a considerable squeeze on the availability of private rented properties in the borough.
According to the report, at least 89 households were living in “all types of temporary accommodation” while 33 households were living in B&B temporary accommodation.
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The report states: “The council is reliant on using the private rented sector in meeting demand, however, officers are reporting a significant drop off in the availability of private rented sector accommodation in the borough.
“We have also seen examples of private landlords evicting tenants in order to convert [them] into Airbnbs and holiday lets.”
Speaking at the meeting, the cabinet member for housing and stronger communities, Cllr Carl Maw, said: “I think this is something we already suspected was going on, but this puts some meat on the bones of the argument that we have serious issues within the borough regarding affordable housing.”
He added that an “over-reliance” on the private sector by the council was “probably not the best idea”, highlighting the need for intervention.
Cllr Maw said: “As we can see, it is market forces that are causing a lot of the problems within the council, and not the council itself”.
At the same meeting, members of the cabinet also agreed to progress plans for the renewal of a scheme in North Scarborough which requires private landlords to apply for a licence to let their properties.
According to the council, the five-year scheme which ended in June had “a very positive impact in terms of improving property conditions” of rented properties in the licensing area.
Council leader, Cllr Steve Siddons, also addressed the lack of housing in the borough, expressing his support for a new law proposed by the MP for York Central, Rachell Maskell, which would require licences for the conversion of domestic properties into short-term and holiday-lets
“I would support that and in fact, I am just on the point of writing to our two MPs for the area to ask for their support when this comes to parliament later in the year”, said Cllr Siddons.
“There are limitations to the things we can do about that at the moment, but we need our hand strengthened as far as that’s concerned.”
Cllr Maw added that there were “a lot of measures parliament could be looking at” including a scheme similar to the one introduced by the Welsh Government granting councils the power to charge up to 300 per cent council tax on second homes from 2023 onwards.
North Yorkshire County Council is currently considering proposals to introduce a 100 per cent premium for council tax bills on second homes “to help to tackle the affordable housing crisis in the county”.