04:11PM, Thursday 23 January 2020
A council investigation has revealed that 150 homeowners in Slough are renting out their properties for long-term stays online without planning permission.
In November, Slough Borough Council said it had seen an increase of listings on sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway.
While listing properties for short-term accommodation is allowed, the council has said that anyone wanting to rent their homes for more than 90 days would require planning permission for a change of use.
Research carried out by the council has since revealed that 315 properties are advertised with online market places such as Airbnb, with 150 of those requiring planning permission.
Council leader James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) told a cabinet meeting on Monday: “It’s one of those things that has crept up as a new area of business across the country and the numbers speak for themselves here in Slough which isn’t an obvious tourist centre.
“We’ve already got properties and a number of rooms being used in this way so the sooner we’re on top of it the better.”
SBC’s housing regulations manager Rhian Richards said in November the spike of listings on Airbnb could be due to people attempting to avoid signing up to a new licensing scheme for landlords.
The regulations, introduced in July last year, require landlords with multiple individually let rooms to obtain a licence from the council.
Cllr Swindlehurst added at Tuesday’s meeting: “This is not aggressive enforcement but flagging to people that they need a planning application if they intend to habitually let their properties this way.”
Councillors agreed to allocate £62,000 to the next council budget to help tackle the issue.
Cllr Martin Carter (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) added: “Our job is not just to enforce because something has come along that may make a difference. We need to understand it and embrace it.”
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