North Devon Council has launched a best practice charter for operating a considerate holiday let in partnership with the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), with a view to providing advice to anyone who lets out whole properties or rooms for short-stay lettings.
The council says that the launch of the 10-point charter recognises the value that short-term holiday lets bring to the area. The council believes that supporting responsible letting with a best practice charter will encourage positive contributions to the economies and communities of the district and help prevent any anti-social or illegal activities associated with holiday lets.
The charter is a set of guiding principles for property owners, managing agents or hosts, made up of 10 practices which they should adhere to. It includes the requirements to provide a clear code of conduct for guests including mindfulness of neighbours, provide neighbours with a 24/7 contact number to use when issues arise, for example, noisy parties, and ensure appropriate arrangements are made for rubbish/recycling storage and collection.
Lead member for housing at North Devon Council, Cllr Nicola Topham, said: “We know that most homeowners or operators who undertake short-term letting of properties do so within the law and maintain excellent standards. However, in some cases when poorly managed, it can negatively impact on the quality of life and comfort of neighbouring residents. We are committed to tackling these common industry challenges and have worked in partnership with the STAA to produce a best practice charter, which all engaging in this activity have a shared responsibility to uphold.
“We believe this balanced approach will result in a mutually beneficial outcome for local residents and businesses, as well as property owners and visitors, because we have addressed the main issues that affect communities such as poor waste management, excessive noise, reduced sense of community from high a turnover of guests and abuse from guests over issues such as noise and sleep deprivation.
“When properly managed, holiday lets will avoid this impact and also bring positive benefits such as an affordable and comfortable stay for guests, bringing income to local businesses, additional income for homeowners and additional tax income for the government.”
Tourism is one of northern Devon’s most important sectors, estimated to support more than 11,000 local jobs. The sector is particularly important to many of its most rural and peripheral communities, where it is often difficult to find businesses and employment that are not in some way reliant on tourism. Of the 6m visitors it welcomes each year to northern Devon, 1.3m are staying trips requiring overnight accommodation.
Merilee Karr, Chair of the STAA and CEO of UnderTheDoormat, commented: “We are so pleased to have worked in partnership with North Devon Council to create this 10-point charter. I am sure it will go a long way to help those involved in short-term and holiday letting to follow best practices that help them operate responsibly and positively in the communities in which their properties are located.
“It also shows that the vast majority of our industry that we represent are continually improving how we work in partnership with Local Councils and communities while creating long-term value for local restaurants and shops and providing much needed jobs in local areas and extra income to property owners during the cost-of-living crisis.
“By welcoming visitors from across the UK and internationally it ensures they can experience all the wonderful attractions that North Devon offers. We would love to talk to other councils about replicating this charter across the UK.”
The charter has been designed for freeholders, homeowners or flat leaseholders, tenants who let out their own rental property with the consent of their landlord, owners of second homes, owners of a property who operate a holiday let or short stay company, owners of a property who let it out for short stays for at least 140 days a year, people who occasionally let out a room in their home, agents acting on behalf of property owners, hosts who use letting websites to find short stay visitors and homeowners who regularly utilise home swaps.