Nigel Huddleston – 2022 Statement on Short-term Holiday Letting in England Inquiry

The statement made by Nigel Huddleston, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 29 June 2022.

The Government are today publishing a call for evidence looking at short-term and holiday letting in England. This call for evidence will improve the evidence base on the tourism sector, gathering views and information on a range of issues related to short-term lets. This will improve the Government’s understanding of the benefits and challenges of the increase in short-term and holiday letting in England in recent years, and will help us to determine whether there are options the Government should pursue through a formal consultation, in line with commitments set out in the tourism recovery plan which was published in June 2021.

The guest accommodation sector has changed significantly over the last 15 years, both within England and across the world. In particular, there has been a major expansion in the number and range of accommodation suppliers operating in the market, driven by the growth of online platforms. While such platforms provide a new route to market for many forms of guest accommodation, it is the increase in short-term letting of residential premises through them that is perhaps the most notable development.

The sharing economy has brought many benefits, both to the tourism sector and the wider economy, but also to individual homeowners by creating an additional income stream, and to consumers by broadening the range of available accommodation. However the Government also recognise that the rise in short-term and holiday letting has prompted a range of concerns. These include the impact on the housing market and local communities, particularly in tourism hotspots, and a sense that new entrants in the market are not being held to the same health and safety standards as traditional operators of guest accommodation such as hotels and bed and breakfasts. Many other countries and cities have introduced measures in recent years in response to some of these issues. As the tourism sector recovers from covid-19, the Government believe that now is the right time to assess the picture in England.

The call for evidence will allow us to collect information on this important issue, and if necessary develop proportionate, evidence-based policy options for a possible future consultation. I am also cognisant of commitments in the levelling-up White Paper to explore proposals for introducing a national landlord register in England, and my Department will continue to work closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to ensure the Government are joined up in identifying the right solutions for each sector.

The Government are keen to hear from all interested parties, including hosts, guest accommodation businesses, online peer-to-peer platforms, enforcement agencies and tourism representative bodies. I will place a copy of the call for evidence in the Libraries of both Houses.