LETTER: Housing Provision article in HIP
Dear Hastings Independent,
Looking at regulation that affects the provision of housing and its condition are all extremely important and should be continually lobbied for. The effect of holiday lettings on the provision of housing should also be looked at and that includes the increased popularity for Airbnb accommodation but Hastings and St Leonards ain’t no New York, Paris or London. Compared to the size of our population we don’t have the same volume of visitors or the potential of such high returns. When I looked at the Airbnb website l found 306 properties listed for Hastings and St Leonards. However, 52 of those properties, that’s 16% of the total, were outside the urban area and some or couldn’t even be classified as permanent accommodation i.e. shepherds huts, caravans, lodges etc. There were also some permanent B&B and boutique hotel businesses advertising amongst them. There are around 43,000 households in the town(s) so that means that only about 0.6% of households are advertised on Airbnb and so used either wholly or partially as holiday accommodation.
I would say that casual holiday lettings sites provide a valuable addition to the tourist and business visitor accommodation market which isn’t currently provided by traditional hotel, B&B or guest houses. Having this type of accommodation available probably encourages visitors to stay overnight and so spend more money in the town. As the owners of these properties are invariably local this money then gets circulated in the town and so supports local jobs.
At the end of the day generally Airbnb in our town is no great money spinner once you take account of the time spent and money involved in running and maintaining these places. Many end up being sold or put back into the traditional rented sector. I don’t think Airbnb causes a housing problem in this town or indeed gets in the way of a solution to our housing needs.
All the best,
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