The phenomenal success of AirBnB is apparently distorting property values in many places; seemingly people purchase residential property and then rent it out for short lets without seeking change of use or meeting the relevant legal constraints. Things have got so bad in Paris that they now have a law (widely flouted) whereby anybody converting a residential property to short-term holiday letting must either build and provide a replacement or purchase a commercial property and convert it to residential use.
It does seem strange that in the UK one can convert a residential property to commercial use without any constraint, provided that the commercial use is of no obvious benefit to the wider community (such as by becoming a corner shop, hairdresser, manufacturing or repair business, consultancy, cafe etc.). In fact, the practice is actually encouraged in most areas, by a reduced level of Council Tax payable on “second homes”.
The BBC ran something on this at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30580295