Suffolk second home owners could face Airbnb ban under crackdown

Some two in five homes in Southwold are not permanently occupied

Second home owners in places such as Southwold could soon be banned from renting out properties on Airbnb - Credit: Archant

Second home owners in Suffolk could be banned from renting out their properties on websites such as Airbnb under new government plans, it has been revealed. 

Housing secretary Michael Gove's proposals would stop second home owners renting out properties as holiday lets as the government looks to crack down on landlords driving up house prices in tourist hotspots. 

In Suffolk, desirable coastal towns such as Southwold and Aldeburgh both have a high volume of second homes

The changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill being devised by Mr Gove would give powers to regional mayors to restrict people renting out second homes for fewer than 90 days. 

This would mean landlords would instead have to apply for planning permission for a change of use.

Southwold town councillor David Beavan is supportive of council tax measures for second homes

David Beavan, Southwold town councillor, welcomed the news - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

David Beavan, Southwold town councillor, said he was pleased to hear the news. 

"It's what I've been calling for for four years," he said. "That you have to have planning to change to a holiday let from a residential home.

"If it happens, it will be great because that's the only way we're going to stop the spread of holiday lets. It's a little bit late for us here, but it will stop it getting worse. 

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"Then we can say, 'we want 50% of the houses in Southwold actually lived in', and that's not too much to ask, and we can control it through the planning system." 

Councils in England will soon be able to charge second homeowners double council tax on unoccupied properties, and Mr Beavan added that he is pushing for money raised through those changes to go a Community Land Trust (CLT). 

Visitors enjoying the hot weather in Southwold on Wednesday

Southwold has a high number of second homes - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"The other thing we're really thinking about is the double council tax on second homes," he said. 

"I'm drafting a motion for the next East Suffolk Council meeting saying all the money raised from extra council tax should go towards affordable housing in the areas affected by second homes. 

"I think it's unfair to tax second home owners, who are here for fewer than 70 days a year, for bin collection, transport, roads, and police because they don't use very much. 

"But it is fair to tax them to maintain the local community as a living community, and I think most of them would be happy with that."