Second homes could face bans under new legislation reportedly being considered by the Government.
Aaron Greenaway www.devonlive.com
It’s been reported that the Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick is planning a range of reforms that will give councils the power to ban the creation of second homes if they are deemed damaging to the community without a referendum on the issue.
The changes will form part of a ‘triple clampdown’ which it is reported will alleviate some of the extreme housing pressures in Devon and Cornwall along with granting Councils powers to insist developers build more starter homes as opposed to focusing on properties likely to be attractive as holiday homes .
New changes to planning rules could also be on the horizon, too, with a potential change of the rules to require owners of a property to get planning permission before conversion to a holiday let.
The Daily Mail reports that a Government source has insisted that while ministers were ‘not anti-second homes’, there was a need to tackle the issues in areas where ‘high levels of second home ownership are blamed for pricing local people out of the housing market.’
It also reports that while no final decision has yet been made on the subject, Mr Jenrick was ‘open’ to the proposals. In addition, where the plans to be put into law would primarily target traditional holiday lettings and Airbnbs – as well as not being applied retrospectively or apply to long term rentals.
Any new changes in legislation will come as part of new planning legislation this autumn with the intention of providing respite to areas seeing exceptional demand.
The proposal to prevent newly built properties from being sold to a non-residential buyer without a referendum closely mirrors a decision taken in St Ives, Cornwall in 2016. After residents voted for the proposals in a referendum, a ban on developers building new properties for the second home market was implemented, with new homes only able to be sold to people who can prove they will use it as a primary residence.
Under the new proposed legislation, Councils would not have to win a referendum to make this possible.
In 2019, a study by the London School of Economics said that the ban implemented in St Ives may have backfired, with developers choosing to build elsewhere with locals facing stiffer competition from those seeking to buy existing properties from elsewhere.
Professor Christian Hilber, who authored the study, however, noted that restricting second homes may have ‘positive effects on amenities and affordability while coming at a cost of a significant adverse effect on the local economy.’