The city council is to consider toughening its stance on unregulated short-term lets such as Airbnb, calling for similar powers to Greater London.
In a motion put forward by Cllr Alan Tormey, the city council’s housing select committee is to consider whether to bring in special planning laws for short-term lets, similar to that used for HMOs.
While Cllr Tormey’s motion accepted that “innovation in how property can be rented has expanded the market and created opportunities for individuals to make a second income”, he raised issues around the growing number of short-term lets in the city, which has one of the leading tourism economies in the UK.
The motion said: “The growing market for ‘party houses’ can give local councils a headache. Houses rented only for a short time, with the aim of having a large party and leaving the resulting mess behind have the potential to damage both the landlords and the local area.”
Cllr Tormey’s motion flagged several concerns, including the impact on the local housing market, with fewer houses available for rent; the impact on licenced hotel and the bed & breakfast sector, and “the potential risks to visitors for example due to the lack of fire safety inspections”.
The motion calls on Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson to call on the Government to change planning laws to create a change of use classification for short-term holiday lets.
Anderson is also requested to ask for powers to enable the council to apply for an enforceable exception to the classification, which would allow use of residential premises as temporary sleeping accommodation for up to 90 days. This would bring Liverpool in line with Greater London, which has similar powers.
A licensing regime for short-term holiday lets is also proposed, which the motion argued would “improve safety and quality for visitors and to enhance management practises so as to benefit neighbours”.
The motion is due to be discussed by the council on Monday 18 November.
Liverpool’s tourism and hotel market remains one of the UK’s strongest, according to data released by consultant Colliers earlier this year.
Colliers’ Hotel Market Index ranks Liverpool as the UK’s top city for hotel revenue per room, with average annual growth of 7.3% over the last four years. The city’s supply is also the fifth highest in the country at 8,731, with a further 878 in the pipeline.
Liverpool’s occupancy rate of 81.8% last year is the fourth-strongest in the UK, behind only London, Edinburgh, and Oxford, while the city placed third behind Edinburgh and Glasgow in terms of the strongest markets for hotel performance in relation to development costs.