Quiet family streets in York have been devastated by Airbnb ‘party houses’, as a holiday let ‘frenzy’ pushes residents out of the city.
Now a York MP is demanding action, as an expected 30% a year rise in Airbnb properties ‘fills me with terror’.
Rachael Maskell was speaking in a parliamentary debate on short term lets.
She said there are 2,000 Airbnbs in York already.
“In the city centre, we often find streets – family streets –where there are five or six Airbnbs, and it is having a serious impact,” she said.
“Everywhere I go across my constituency, I have constituents come up to me to talk about Airbnbs and holiday lets – or, as they are increasingly being called, party houses.”
Noise all night
The Labour MP for York Central gave an example of the impact. “I have one cul-de-sac in the Groves in York where there are three of these Airbnbs in a little courtyard, and they advertise for 30 people to go and spend their weekend there.
“It is at the end of a family residential street, and people in my community have told me that the noise goes on all night.
“People are half-clad in the streets. Women do not feel safe down some of the back alleys in the Groves, where a lot of children play. It is turning these wonderful little communities in York into nightmares.”
The “frenzy among landlords” to secure Airbnb properties in York is making a major housing shortage worse, Ms Maskell said.
Every single time a property comes on to the housing market, in come these owners of Airbnb, cash in hand, hoovering up the properties ahead of people who have saved meticulously for their mortgage.
And they are offering over the market price for those properties. I heard of one incident in York where they offered £70,000 more than the market price for the property. As a result, local people were not able to move in.
According to Airbnb’s own figures there is likely to be a 30% a year rise in these properties over the next ten years, which “fills me with terror, so it is important that we get on top of this issue now”.
Ms Maskell said a full licensing scheme for Airbnbs was needed urgently, with licences removed on properties that were focal points of anti-social behaviour.
And council tax could be doubled on such properties with the revenue being invested into the local area.