The Airbnb, short-term let industry is one that can prove positive for investors and visitors alike. However, it’s not something that is welcomed by everyone and a local authority in Manchester has moved to ensure short-term lets and Airbnb’s are not in operation on a newly regenerated part of the city.
Some 500 new homes in the Brunswick area of Manchester are part of a regeneration project, which will see both council-owned properties and private sector ones become available to rent and buy. However, to ensure that they are inhabited by those who need a long-term home it the city and not turned into short-term lets, all buyers must sign a covenant stating they will not let them on a short-term basis.
No short-term lets in Brunswick housing regeneration project
The local city council isn’t opposed to short-term lets in general. However, it wants to ensure that the investment and regeneration in the area on the outskirts of Manchester city centre, benefits those families that it is intended to. That’s why the Brunswick regeneration project, which began in 2014 and will continue until completion in 2038, is being used as a blueprint to encourage families into the area and build a long-term community.
“Brunswick is an important estate regeneration project that will mean the neighbourhood is transformed with hundreds of new homes, new local services and facilities, and much wanted green space,” said Councillor Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration.
“However, given the close proximity to the city centre and to the city’s universities, Brunswick is a target for the investor and short-term lets market, so it’s vital we do what we can to protect the community from being broken up by private landlords. We need to safeguard family housing in the city and there are lessons we can learn from the Brunswick model,” Richards added.
If a home in the Brunswick regeneration area is sold, the covenant will remain part of the contract for any future home owners. In addition, if there is a change in circumstances and a property is rented out, rules stipulate the properties can only be let to a family-type household – not as a Home of Multiple Occupation or short-term let – and that it is managed through an approved lettings agent.
Cities have room for every type of housing tenure
It may seem to some that this action by Manchester City Council suggests they disagree with short-term lets and wish to reduce them in their city. However, Councillor Richards and others state this is not the case at all.
Indeed, Manchester, like other cities around the world, is home to numerous short-term lets, including Airbnb’s. However, while there is definitely space for short-term lets in Manchester, there is also the need for family communities to be able to live close to the city centre without fear of being priced out of the market due to over active investors. Or, another danger with badly managed short-term lets is a negative, anti-social aspect of short-term lets.
With the introduction of this new covenant that protects one pocket of the city limits from short-term let investors, the Manchester City Council is hoping to show it wants to support families who wish to live close to the city, as well as investors and businesses.
In theory, it sounds like a sensible way to do just that. But only time will tell if it achieves the city council’s goal.