This is a reminder if you have not done so already, to make your views known on the government's deregulation bill. See my previous note on this. Short Term Letting - Concern for Marylebone Residents
The information below is from Amanda Rigby(Voluntary) Vice-Chair of the Covent Garden Community Association
42 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LA
Office telephone: 020 7836 5555 to leave a message
We thank Amanada for this information
The measure in question is now under Clause 34: 'Short-term use of London accommodation: power to relax restrictions'. See details here. It would do away with the current restriction on any lets less than 90 days in length, and indeed with the ability of local authorities to make restrictions on letting.
The legislation is passing to committee stage on the House of Lords this coming month, and we should press to have our voices heard (as usual, the more a point is made, the less it can be ignored). The best way to do this is to write to Eric Pickles if you have not already done so. Individual letters from residents would also be helpful, to ensure that the government gets the message that this really is an issue. I attach the old letter from Westminster to Eric Pickles. Our own letters do not need to be long.
The basis on which the legislation is being pushed through seems to be the misleading premise that people need new legislation just to allow them to rent out their homes on one-off occasions whilst they are on holiday. This sounds harmless enough. But in fact, as we probably all know, that would not be illegal under current legislation, and no change of use is required since it is very much ancillary to its normal use as a home. On the contrary, it is communities who may need protection from people who go away a lot and whose homes become unregulated hotels on a regular basis - all of which seems quite legal already.
Short lets are killing a lot of community pockets in Covent Garden, and we know that we are not the only ones in London who are suffering in this way. Dare we say that on this matter we need more regulation, not less! Below I paste a case study from just one street on our patch, which illustrates the sort of detrimental impact that holiday let websites are having in just one small building.
This is happening everywhere in the West End, and it is ruining the quality of life of long term residents who then, of course, are tempted to move out themselves. In recent years CGCA managed to get all the local estate agents to co-operate by not managing short lets, but now that these holiday accommodation websites have sprung up it's impossible.
It doesn't take a very long look at urban history to see that subletting and multiple occupancy has preceded the decline of city centres in the UK many times before, including Covent Garden in the early 18th Century.
You may also wish to comment on:
Clause 29 which would reduce the qualifying period for the right to buy council homes to just 3 years.
Clause 53 which would increase the maximum number of events per year under Temporary Event Notices from 12 to 15.
This is all hidden amongst measures to ease the burden on 'Sellers of Knitting Yarn' and such like; there are words about failure to comply with requirements relating to household waste receptacles, and road humps, and farriers, and "every person who keeps any pigsty". It would be quite amusing if it did not also contain words that risk our communities' futures for the next generation.
Eric Pickles' address is
Department for Communities and Local Government,
London, SW1E 5DU.