Cornwall may force holiday lets like Airbnb to be registered

It’s become the talking point in Cornwall – over-tourism caused by the emergence of rental platforms such as Airbnb which is then impacting on the growing housing crisis. There is now a bid to do something about it with the introduction of compulsory registration for all rented holiday accommodation providers in the Duchy.

With thousands of properties listed on sites like Airbnb and VRBO, it’s easier to find dozens of short-term holiday lets than it is to find a single home for sale or rent in many parts of Cornwall. CornwallLive has reported on many cases where local families have been made homeless or – on the verge of it – after being evicted by their landlords and not being able to find alternative housing.

Many landlords have decided to tap into the lucrative holiday market. Last month we reported how tourism hotspots in Cornwall had 2,087 Airbnbs compared to just 61 rentals. Tourism leaders are now staging consultation events to gauge the views of the tourism sector about a proposal to introduce compulsory registration as the holiday industry recognises its safety responsibilities as well as the impact non-compliant operators can have on the communities in which they operate and on the environment.

Read more: Cornwall hotspots have over 2,000 Airbnbs but only 61 rentals

Compulsory registration could help ease the pressure on the property market, with some operators, realising the regulations they have to comply with, potentially deciding to revert to residential letting. South East Cornwall Tourism Association, Penzance & District Tourism Association, We are Bude, Visit Tamar Valley, Visit Falmouth, Land’s End Accommodation and Visit Cornwall have joined forces to bring the proposal forward for Cornwall to act a pilot area for the scheme.

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Malcolm Bell, CEO of Visit Cornwall, is confident that it would be a positive move. “This is an opportunity to provide a level playing field at last, with all providers bearing the same level of costs,” he said. “Visitors to Cornwall will be reassured that wherever they stay the accommodation will comply with all necessary legislation to ensure they enjoy a safe, enjoyable holiday.

“It will be a driver to assist in the reduction of periods of over-tourism in certain areas of Cornwall caused by the increased ad-hoc accommodation that has sprung up in peak season and the associated issues that this creates. A compulsory registration system would enable a simple way to communicate legislative changes to operators to ensure everyone is up to speed and compliant.

“The generation of key data is a massive advantage to discover the scale of the situation but also a major resource to help with future planning, transport and healthcare needs. It would also help to spread the visitor load more evenly within the county and, more importantly, throughout the year.”

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All accommodation providers are encouraged to attend one of the consultation events to learn more about the proposal and put forward their views. The meetings are being held on Thursday, May 19 at Lanhydrock Hotel, Bodmin, from 10am until noon and from 2pm to 4pm at Heartlands, Pool. Pre-registration to attend either of the consultation meetings are required by emailing [email protected]