At the December meeting of the Additional (HMO) Licensing Governance Board we heard of a number of properties in Gunwharf which had been let via Airbnb on a long-term basis to visiting workers supporting contracts on the new carriers. An AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) is the norm for anyone renting a ‘main residence’ but all of these people appeared to have ‘main homes’ in Scotland or elsewhere – so should they have had AST’s or were the Airbnb ‘holiday let’ contracts sufficient?
The view of PCC was that in the absence of a particular problem with these tenancies there was no need to apply the existing rules differently or to enforce them nor is there a need to increase the regulations (and bureaucracy) involved in letting in this area, which is good news for those operating serviced accommodation.
However, where there were 3 or more workers sharing one property, PCC have stated that in their view, this means the property is operating as an HMO and needs to meet local regulations which control such properties. This means that in the south of the city, the property will need to be licensed and wherever it is, it will need PCC Planning to approve a change of use from family use (C3) to either HMO (C4) or mixed family/HMO use (C3/C4). This will only be granted if it meets the terms in the newly updated SPD (Strategic Planning Document).
We could argue that PCC are taking the easy path here and aspects of their interpretation of the rules might not stand up to legal scrutiny, but on the surface it is a logical approach. If you have issues or concerns do let us know.