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Airbnb crackdown in Margate over fears it is ‘killing the community’ over lack of rental properties

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One of the hottest seaside resorts in the UK is to consider a motion that will limit the number of Airbnbs allowed after locals said it ‘killed the community’.

Margate in Kent has become hugely popular with holidaymakers in recent years thanks to its trendy bohemian vibe, and many now refer to it as ‘Shoreditch on Sea’.

But the increased attention has come with a huge increase in rental properties, with the area now boasting more than 300 Airbnb properties.

Permanent residents and councilors now fear that families in the area will struggle to rent homes because so few are available.

Thanet District Councilor Rob Yates has filed a motion that would introduce rental caps and scheduling restrictions across the entire Thanet district, including the popular Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

Cllr Yates has urged the holiday rental company to repeat what it has done in Greater Manchester and London and introduce a 90-day annual limit for ‘whole home rentals in Thanet within the Airbnb platform’.

Margate, in Kent, is referred to by some as ‘Shoreditch on Sea’ due to its recent popularity with holidaymakers (stock photo)

Margate's increased attention from vacationers has led to a massive increase in rental properties, with the area now boasting more than 300 Airbnb properties

Margate’s increased attention from vacationers has led to a massive increase in rental properties, with the area now boasting more than 300 Airbnb properties

The Labor Councilor for Margate will take the motion to the next Thanet District Council meeting on Thursday.

He said: “This council notes with concern the continuing concerns raised by residents around the growth of Airbnbs in Thanet, especially with regard to the long-term reduction in rental properties.

“We welcome the majority of visitors to Thanet, who make a significant contribution to our economy, but we hear residents’ concerns and want to take action to bring this serious problem, which is damaging our community and the reputation of Airbnb, under control .

“This council recognizes that it currently lacks the powers to intervene and regulate these properties, and that this is an issue facing many local authorities across the country.”

Permanent residents and councilors fear families living in the area will struggle to rent homes because so few are available

Permanent residents and councilors fear families living in the area will struggle to rent homes because so few are available

While there were over 300 properties in Margate available on Airbnb, there were only 15 rental properties on RightMove

While there were over 300 properties in Margate available on Airbnb, there were only 15 rental properties on RightMove

He also said the council should look into introducing planning restrictions on change of use, which would require a property to be approved by the council in order to operate as a short-term rental.

He said he wanted to ask the council’s leader to write Marie Lorimer, the UK’s Public Policy Manager at Airbnb, to request a meeting and try proactively to introduce a 90-day annual limit on full home rentals in Thanet inside the Airbnb. platform’.

He added: “Airbnb currently has a lock on their platform which makes it impossible to rent out entire houses in Greater London for more than 90 days a year.”

The measure was introduced in London five years ago to free up housing for people who want to rent permanently in the area.

Data from Visit Kent shows there were 1,089 active rentals in Margate with rental growth of 373% between 2016 and 2019 (stock photo)

Data from Visit Kent shows there were 1,089 active rentals in Margate with rental growth of 373% between 2016 and 2019 (stock photo)

Cllr Rob Yates, a Labor councilor for Margate, plans to propose a motion that would introduce rent limits and scheduling restrictions imposed across the Thanet district

Cllr Rob Yates, a Labor councilor for Margate, plans to propose a motion that would introduce rent limits and scheduling restrictions imposed across the Thanet district

This week, over 300 properties were available on Airbnb in Margate, 230 in Broadstairs and 195 in Ramsgate.

The area has become popular in the past five years, thanks in part to the opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery in 2011, relatively low real estate prices and highly regarded restaurants.

Even Libertines star Pete Doherty moved there at one point, spotting a mega breakfast at the local hot spot the Dalby Cafe.

Data from Visit Kent shows that there were 1,089 active rentals in Margate with rental growth of 373% between 2016 and 2019.

While hundreds of Airbnbs were listed this week, there were only 15 rental properties available in Margate, according to RightMove.

By comparison, Tonbridge, which had the fewest number of Airbnb properties in all of Kent, had 36 properties available for renters.

Cllr Yates added: ‘Anyone who wants to rent out their spare room for Airbnb is no problem; they are people who buy real estate and then rent everything out on Airbnb.

“They’re not part of the Margate community, they’re using Margate as an investment opportunity.”

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “Airbnb is built on the foundation of helping people pay for their homes and empowering communities, and we’ve reached out to Thanet Council to offer our support.

‘In the UK the majority of landlords share a space in their own home and almost a third of landlords in the UK say the extra income is an economic lifeline.

“We take housing issues seriously and have called for a nationwide registration system to better understand the impact of short-term rentals on local areas, and an update to planning guidelines to empower local authorities.”

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