Update from National Organisation of Residents Associations on short term lettings

Our last update on Short Term Letting (STL) was in June 2022, where we reported on measures being taken to STL in other countries (including Scotland!) and being contemplated by government in England and Wales (ie the  Departments for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – which covers tourism).  Since then, progress has been glacial.

A year ago, NORA held a meeting with the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), one of the principal trade bodies involved. Both parties agreed on the current housing crisis, and on the Parliamentary Committee’s two recent recommendations to the government:

  1. to “recommit to delivering the affordable homes the country needs, particularly the 90,000 social rent homes needed every year,” and
  2. to introduce a “tourist accommodation registration scheme and [asked it to] report back on whether the scheme could be used to allow Local Authorities to protect their communities from the holiday-let market.”  Both parties were in favour (a) of such a scheme, (b) of its being compulsory, and (c) of online booking agencies (eg AirBnb) being required to display the venue’s registration code on all advertisements or listings.  In this way, Local Authorities would be aware of the venues in their areas and thus be able to take other actions which were legal.  However, STAA saw there being difficulties in enforcement: so wanted such registration to be at no charge to the venue.

NORA later exchanged correspondence with STAA to add its conviction that, additionally, a new Planning Use Category would probably be needed for STL, allowing Local Authorities (LA) to require Planning Approval to be sought for change of use, if the LA so decided (though not in cases where the landlord is also resident).

In April 23, the Levelling Up Secretary of State announced that a scheme along the above lines would be introduced, and opened a consultation phase, to last to June.  However, little more was heard until February 24, when the proposals were confirmed, with changes “being introduced from this summer”; so don’t hold your breath!

Robin Kerr – meetings secretary
National Organisation of Residents Associations

Scams advice from the SNT

The scam: an official looking person with a uniform and ID badge turns up on your doorstep. They might say they are there to read the gas meter,   conduct a survey for the local council, are from your housing association, from the water board etc.

The reality: their ID could be fake. They want to get into your home or trick you into divulging personal information that can be used for ID fraud.

Protect yourself –

  • Be on your guard: always be suspicious of anyone turning up at the door uninvited – regardless of their story.
  • Keep your home secure: don’t let any stranger into your home. Keep your doors locked with the chain on.
  • Look for ID: ask to see callers’ ID cards and call the company to see if they are genuine. To be safe, look up the company number yourself rather than trust the number on their ID card. If you feel uncomfortable or have any doubts, don’t let them in. It’s your home. Tell them you’re not interested or that now is ‘not convenient’ and ask them to come back at a different time (when you can have a friend or relative with you).
  • Nominate a neighbour: if you have a relative or friend who lives close by, ask if they’d mind being on standby in case you get any suspicious callers. Before letting a stranger into your house, give your neighbour a call and ask them to pop round
  • Consider smart security devices: smart doorbells incorporate a camera and can enable you to speak to a caller without opening the door; some can also send a message to a relative notifying them that you have a visitor.
  • Take a photo: if you’re suspicious, ask the caller if you can take their photo on your mobile phone. Then send it to a close friend or relative. If the caller is genuine, they probably won’t mind.
  • Call the police: if a caller is really persistent and refuses to leave,

If you have elderly neighbours please pass on this information

HS2 works update

Please see the works updates as follows:

Royal British Legion seeking a new branch secretary

The secretary of the Eastcote Branch of the Royal British Legion resigned at the start of the year after many years of exemplary service.

We’re keen to recruit a replacement and wonder if you would be interested? It’s a fairly light touch role with a monthly committee meeting whose main role is ensuring we keep complaint with RBL rules. However there’s plenty of scope to go beyond that and get involved with wider branch work, fundraising and community engagement. Also looks good on a CV.

please get in touch if you might be interested

Matt Neave
Eastcote Branch, Royal British Legion

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