Lay My Hat home page Lay My Hat Forum
The forum for holiday rental owners


 
  FAQFAQ    SearchSearch    MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups    RegisterRegister  
  ProfileProfile    Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages    Log inLog in 

UK government propose ban on distant owners?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Lay My Hat Forum Index -> UK & Ireland
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Lamb



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Shropshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:30 am    Post subject: UK government propose ban on distant owners? Reply with quote

In July 2018 The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Sharing Economy published a number of proposals affecting holiday rental owners. The report suggests compulsory registration, limiting the number of nights you can rent and new enforcement of tax, insurance, fire and health and safety rules. This is all to be administered under new powers for local councils. The idea is to limit the impact on local communities of Airbnb style letting businesses and improve owner compliance with legislation.

I broadly support the main proposals. (I wonder what the cost of registration will be?) I'm even happy to provide the documents suggested and can see why the authorities may want to reduce ad hoc lettings, especially in city centres. But why introduce a ban on owners who cannot be “present if a property is used for tourism accommodation”

We run a modest holiday cottage rental business in Shropshire. It's a single, traditional cottage in every sense. We normally post the key to visitors and service the cottage ourselves, with just occasional local help. Often, but not always, we meet our guests, either on arrival or departure. After 15 years we have had no significant problems. We live 186 miles away in London.

How many of you out there are not able to meet and greet each guest on arrival? I would be very interested to learn the views of other LMH owners.

I found the proposals at http://www.tourismalliance.com/downloads/TA_398_426.pdf
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6144
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was aware of the proposals with the exception of the requirement on owners’ presence, which is in this paragraph at the very end of the Executive Summary (my bolding):

Quote:
• That the Government provide Local Authorities with powers to set rules regarding the use of residential properties for Tourism Accommodation so that local solutions can be developed that balance the benefits generated by sharing economy accommodation with needs of local residents. These powers include:
• The ability to set the maximum number of days per annum that a property can be used for tourism accommodation
The ability to require the owner of the property to be present if a property is used for tourism accommodation


I’ve not got time to look at it in detail right now, and I don’t understand the point, but if the crux of the argument is the meet & greet, as an onsite owner our experience over 10 years is that many guests don’t want a meet&greet the moment they arrive, and would much prefer some space for a pee and tea.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7273
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is an extremely old fashioned view of the way holiday let's should be managed. In this day and age of technology with coded entries, remote heating controls, whatsapp, facetime etc thee really isn't any reason for guests to have the owner on site/next door.

There is a whole industry built around management of holiday lets for off site owners and I don't suppose for one minute they will like that suggestion.
As we know.....its not about the nearness of the owner but the attitude and support mechanisms they have in place.

Mousie
x
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6144
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve now had a scan through the document and read some sections in a bit more detail.
Ignoring the obvious lack of proofreading of the document, and the fact that I can’t be expected to take it seriously when one of the early paragraphs has an incorrect apostrophe:
Quote:
With it’s proven ability to provide growth for the UK economy, tourism is an industry that the Government needs to fully support as the UK leaves the European Union
I’m really struggling to find the thinking behind the recommendation regarding the presence of the owner.

It appears as a summary recommendation to the section THE SHARING ECONOMY’S IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY which starts on page 18, and I can really only guess that it has something to do with the Impact on Local Residents section, but it’s not obvious to me - maybe somebody else can read that section differently and shed some light.

It’s certainly worth contacting the HHA (formerly EASCO) for their understanding of the recommendation, which seems hard to justify (maybe that’s why there doesn’t seem to be an attempt at justification?!). Bonkers, in fact, and of course it would affect a very high proportion of the responsible FHL owners in the country.

Aside from that point - which is very important - the rest of it seems (at first sight anyway) to be beneficial to responsible owners who are currently having to compete with cowboy operators; but if that “owner present” recommendation stays, the whole thing falls on its face.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6144
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve just dug back to the HHA newsletter from July that gave a summary review of the document. It looks like they don’t get it either (my bolding):

Quote:
Issues around antisocial behaviour and nuisance have also been explored by the group. They point out the “blind spot” in the feedback systems used by platforms that only recognises the interests of the owner and the guest and gives no feedback opportunity to the neighbours. Here they have made some proposals that the industry may not want to endorse. They propose that local authorities be
given the power to set a maximum number of days per year that a property can be used as holiday accommodation, and also to require owners to be physically present, although it is not clear what that might mean.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
amandajane



Joined: 14 Jul 2014
Posts: 199
Location: South hams, devon

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me it reads as though the report's authors can't decide whether they are trying to give Local Authorities the power to regulate the "sharing economy" , typically Airbnbers , or all providers of holiday accommodation. The lack of distinction seems to again create problems. I've long thought that Airbnb should have two separate sites, one for the original spare room providers and another for the whole house market.

As for the recommendation, if the aim is to protect travellers from unsafe or uninsured accommodation there is no need to have the owner present. If the aim is to protect the neighbours from an increase in holiday makers/travellers making merry then the presence of an owner may limit the effect, and I suspect this is where the idea stems from.

However, give the power suggested to a local authority and there is zero chance that they will use it for its intended purpose. If they wish to wipe out the second home/self catering provision in certain areas this would do it at one fell swoop.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sandyandy



Joined: 26 Oct 2013
Posts: 60
Location: Pembrokeshire Coast

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just wondering if the 'owners present' part relates to where a room is let out in the owner's property on Airbnb for example (not as in renting out an 'entire property') if the owner is not actually living there?
_________________
it will all come out in the wash
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lamb



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Shropshire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses. I will follow up with the Chairman of the Inquiry, to understand the line of thinking.

If implemented as I read it, this would mean closing our cottage.

In the past (in an unrelated trade) I have seen this sort of approach by government, which also resulted in the national closure of some small businesses. The law of unintended consequences?

If I get a response I will post it here.

Thanks for all of your thoughts.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6144
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sandyandy wrote:
I'm just wondering if the 'owners present' part relates to where a room is let out in the owner's property on Airbnb for example (not as in renting out an 'entire property') if the owner is not actually living there?
That crossed my mind as possibly being the intention behind the recommendation, but the way the recommendation is worded it would give a local authority power to close any holiday rental where the owner wasn’t on site. Waving a wet finger and just basing my guesstimate on owners on this forum and various FB groups I use, I reckon that would be the vast majority of owners.

As Lamb says - The law of unintended consequences? It’s early days yet, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first piece of legislation that was nodded through with collateral damage that could/should have been foreseen.

Lamb - please do keep us posted.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lamb



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Shropshire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Greenbarn, will do.

Three emails fired off tonight. One to the Chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry, one to the HHA...... Oh! and one reply for a booking enquiry at Easter.

I wonder..... Which reply will arrive first?

Will keep you posted.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6144
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Lamb.
The HHA (EASCO) is the only body to represent the interests of owners and should be keeping a watchful eye on developments. If it becomes necessary it won’t be the first time they’ve tackled Government head on (and previously won) on issues essential to us.
Maybe a good time for owners in England (I believe Wales and Scotland still have their own - associated - organisations?) who aren’t already members to consider joining HHA to support them.

Disclaimer - other than being a member I have no other connection with HHA/EASCO.

Good luck with the Easter booking!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rosebud



Joined: 14 Mar 2012
Posts: 624
Location: Steyning, West Sussex

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for alerting us to this Lamb. Interested to hear what responses you will receive.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lamb



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Shropshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to those who have responded.

I have a response from The HHA.

They support "some" of the proposals. In particular compulsory registration, suggesting "a level playing field" so owners abide by regulatory standards regardless of using traditional websites or Airbnb style portals. They think "too many [owners] are getting away with not meeting the standards" and registration is the only way to create fair competition. They suggest regulation is unfairly directed at the traditional operators.

Further, they do not support the idea of owners having to be physically present, suggesting it would be "impractical
and unworkable".

However they say, "We are a long way from this becoming law...".

My view, having experienced similar government action in the past, is The HHA are rather complacent. Also, their view that registration will curb high density, inner city, Airbnb-style lettings, is naive. This is for the following reason. The finance for the Local Authority inspection will come from the registration fee. If, say, in inner London, the LA decide to regulate under these proposals, they will have to get the illicit owners to register. They won't. Why should they? Ultimately, in this instance, the LA won't be able to finance the scheme.

Don't get me wrong. I don't object to Airbnb per se. After all we have a listing with them! In addition we list with TA, HA, OD etc. I see Airbnb as just a listing like any other.

No reply yet from the Chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry.

Will keep you posted.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6144
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting response - thanks.
Not surprised that the HHA support some of the proposals as they’ve been campaigning for them, and their take on the owners’ presence is about right.

I take your point about whether compulsory registration will curb lettings, although I think (and I’m not reading through it again!) there was a suggestion of putting the onus on Airbed, and of course other sites, to not list a property that wasn’t registered? ie to require the owner to provide proof of registration. That shouldn’t be hard to implement and could have the desired effect; however it probably wouldn’t be difficult for a “host” to falsify the information, and a number of the giant listing sites do seem to consider themselves above the law and beyond its reach.
We shall see...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lamb



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Shropshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it took a little while, but here is the update.

My email to the chair was returned politely, with the response that Parliamentary etiquette dictates, (as the chair was an MP) I should contact my own MP.

I duly did this, together with a much longer explanation of the issues, since it was unlikely my newly elected, outer London MP knew much about FHLs and the associated issues.

The reply seems to have taken on board my points and has jumped over the Chair (not literally!) to the Secretary of State for Housing, "...to request his comment on government consideration of the recommendation that local authorities be given powers to require owners to be present if a property is used for tourism accommodation."

The reply included the opinion that as, Parliamentary committees are not part of government, their recommendations should not been seen as government policy.

My view is that may well be so, but it might well become government policy!

The response concluded, "We will be sure to share with you the Secretary of State’s response as soon as it is received."

I will do the same on this forum.

(I can see why government wheels turn so slowly - but maybe that is a good thing.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Lay My Hat Forum Index -> UK & Ireland All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group