We need to talk about Airbnb….

…because it’s getting bigger all the time and we need to set boundaries.

An appeal against an enforcement notice directed at the use of an outbuilding in the Lake District for letting through Airbnb (DCS Number 400-014-522) is a case in point. The appellant contended that the building was effectively an additional bedroom to the main house and was let only occasionally through Airbnb. Having examined the information on the Airbnb website, however, the inspector came to the conclusion that a material change of use had occurred and therefore a breach of planning control had taken place. He upheld the notice.

For those not familiar with Airbnb, the name originates from air-bed and breakfast. Those with a spare room, an outbuilding or indeed a whole unit of accommodation can advertise it on the website for holiday letting. Clearly, there are planning implications, perhaps not least for the traditional tourism industry. Very often the planning system finds itself having to catch up with developments in the real world. Maybe this time we ought to recognise what is happening right in front of us and discuss what our approach ought to be. Anybody out there up for some dialogue on this?

The following DCP section is relevant: 9.5

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