Key workers forced out of UK hotspots as landlords put homes on Airbnb

Fury as key workers are forced out of UK holiday hotspots as landlords evict tenants to put property on Airbnb in bid to capitalise on staycation boom

  • Key workers forced out of some of Britain’s most popular holiday locations 
  • Landlords evict tenants to put properties on Airbnb to capitalise on staycations 
  • Covid pandemic, cuts to stamp duty and staycations triggered housing crisis 
  • MPs are calling on Robert Jenrick to introduce measures to ease the emergency

Key workers are being forced out of some of Britain’s most popular holiday locations as landlords evict tenants to put their properties on Airbnb in a bid to take advantage of the so-called ‘staycation boom’. 

A combination of the Covid pandemic, cuts to stamp duty and staycations have triggered an unprecedented housing crisis in Cornwall, Devon, Norfolk and Cumbria as locals are left homeless by soaring property prices and domestic holidays.

Anthony Mangnall, the Tory MP for Totnes, is set to declare a ‘housing emergency’ in South Hams, an area of outstanding natural beauty in Devon with more than 5,000 second homes, by the autumn. 

He is one of several MPs preparing to call on Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to introduce a range of measures to ease the crisis.

Mr Mangnall told the Sunday Times: ‘There are just 19 properties you can rent long-term in the whole of South Hams on Rightmove, yet there are 300 advertised on Airbnb in Salcombe, another 300 in Kingsbridge, a similar number in Totnes. 

‘Yet we have hospital staff who can’t find anywhere to live, RNLI crew that can’t live in the town they serve. This is starting to become dangerous.’

In the first six months of 2021, nearly 15,000 second homes were bought in Britain according to statistics from Countrywide, the largest estate agency chain in the UK – the highest number since 2009 when they began collecting data

Key workers forced out of UK hotspots as landlords put homes on Airbnb

Key workers are being forced out of some of Britain’s most popular holiday locations as landlords evict tenants to put their properties on Airbnb in a bid to take advantage of the so-called ‘staycation boom’. Cornwall stock image

In the first six months of 2021, nearly 15,000 second homes were bought in Britain according to statistics from Countrywide, the largest estate agency chain in the UK – the highest number since 2009 when they began collecting data.

In some areas of the Lake District, north Norfolk, Devon and Cornwall, up to 80 per cent of houses are thought to be holiday lets or second homes, the Sunday Times reported.  

Of the eight UK postcodes where house prices have risen by more than £100,000 in the past year, three are in Cornwall. 

Key workers forced out of UK hotspots as landlords put homes on Airbnb

Anthony Mangnall, the Tory MP for Totnes, is set to declare a ‘housing emergency’ in South Hams, an area of outstanding natural beauty in Devon with more than 5,000 second homes, by the autumn

Houses are selling for millions of pounds to buyers with seemingly limitless budgets, while key workers struggle to find a home and locals are forced to camp.

The crisis even forced the Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, to speak oput on the ‘devastating’ effect second homes are having on communities in Cornwall.

MPs including Mr Mangnall, Steve Double, Derek Thomas, and Duncan Baker are set to propose plans including the regulation of Airbnb-style rentals, the building of more affordable homes, curbs on the number of holiday and second homes, incentives for landlords to rent to locals, and new powers to impose council tax surcharges on second homes.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, launched a petition last week calling for planning legislation to be changed to stop family housing being turned into second homes and holiday lets, warning: ‘The market is utterly broken and if we don’t step in we will see entire populations move out.’ 

Mr Double, the Tory MP for St Austell and Newquay, said there are now an estimated 10,000 Airbnbs in Cornwall. 

Mr Thomas, the MP for St Ives, West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is also campaigning to charge ‘twice or treble council tax and ring-fence that to subsidise local services.’

Key workers forced out of UK hotspots as landlords put homes on Airbnb

A combination of the Covid pandemic, cuts to stamp duty and staycations have triggered an unprecedented housing crisis in Cornwall, Devon (Clovelly pictured), Norfolk and Cumbria as locals are left homeless by soaring property prices and domestic holidays

Cornwall Council has announced plans to build hundreds of ‘pop-up’ homes for those without a permanent home. 

Olly Monk, Cornwall council’s portfolio holder for housing and planning, said the changes in the housing market in the county this year had been ‘seismic’ and warned: ‘There’s a perfect storm at the moment in terms of supply and demand for housing and it’s a worrying time for lots of people.’

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government told the Sunday Times: ‘We have introduced a series of measures to help mitigate the adverse effect large numbers of second homes can have on some areas, including higher rates of stamp duty for buyers of second homes. 

‘We’ve delivered more than 542,000 affordable homes since 2010 and are investing more than £12billion in affordable housing over the next five years.’  

Last year, Princess Anne said there was a shortage of affordable houses in most rural area. She wrote for Country Life magazine: ‘One of my pleas… is for housing for local families that are priced out of the market; for young, single people who would like to stay and work in their home village or area; young families; and retired people who were born in the village and would like to return home.’