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Councillor calls for powers to ban use of homes as holiday lets

Councillor Marianna Ebel has called on national legislation to clamp down on second home ownership and holiday lets
Councillor Marianna Ebel has called on national legislation to clamp down on second home ownership and holiday lets

A GREEN councillor has called on the government to tax income from holiday homes and even ban the use of houses for holiday lets in certain circumstances.

Councillor Marianna Ebel, who represents Goldsmid on Brighton and Hove City Council, said that planning policy to clamp down on second home ownership to ease the housing crisis can only go so far and that “national legislation is needed”.

She said: “This could be done by effectively taxing income from holiday homes, by limiting the number of days per year a holiday home can be rented out for profit, and by making it illegal to use houses as holiday homes if, like Brighton and Hove, there is a great pressure on the housing market.”

Cllr Ebel, who sits on the council’s tourism, equalities, communities and culture committee, said that a house in her ward that was once a family home has been turned into a short-term holiday let - causing irritation for neighbours.

She said: “Neighbours have been suffering for months from noise disturbances and anti-social behaviour. We are trying to resolve the issues in this particular case through existing planning police and through our environmental health service.

“We have a housing crisis and thousands of residents are on our housing waiting list. When used as short-term holiday lets, second homes not only reduce the number of much-needed housing units but can also cause massive problems for neighbours.”

The tourism, equalities, communities and culture committee discussed a report earlier this month on implementing a principle residence policy to ease the pressure on the local housing market.

The report said such an approach has had success in smaller seaside towns and villages, where concentrations of second homes can be high.

Should it be implemented, the policy would only apply to new build housing, as new planning policy cannot apply to buildings already used as second homes or holiday lets.

Councillors agreed to target hotspots, rather than impose a city-wide ban, with the focus likely to fall on areas where more than one in five homes are not the owners’ main residence.

More than 3,000 properties could currently be in use as short-term holiday lets, the report revealed.