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Govt opens multiple consultations on short-term lets with heightened regulation on the cards

  • 13/04/2023
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Govt opens multiple consultations on short-term lets with heightened regulation on the cards
The government has proposed introducing planning permissions for existing homes to be used as a short-term let, which it says aims to help local people in holiday hotspots.

The Department for Levelling Up (DLUHC) consultation said increased planning permission requirements would help local people in areas where “high numbers of holiday lets prevent them from finding affordable housing”.

Another proposal is around giving owners flexibility to let out their home for a specified number of nights, 30, 60 or 90 days, in the year without the need for planning permission.

The DLUHC has opened a consultation, which closes on 7 June on introducing a new use class for short-term lets and permitted development rights on flexibility to let out properties “where there are no local issues with such uses”.

The DLUHC said short-term lets were a “significant part” of the UK’s visitor economy which offer increased choice and flexibility for tourists.

However, it said local communities should also be protected and there should available affordable housing in holiday hotspots.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, said: “Tourism brings many benefits to our economy but in too many communities we have seen local people pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages by huge numbers of short-term lets.

“I’m determined that we ensure that more people have access to local homes at affordable prices, and that we prioritise families desperate to rent or buy a home of their own close to where they work.”

He continued: “I have listened to representations from MPs in tourist hot spots and am pleased to launch this consultation to introduce a requirement for planning permissions for short-term lets.”


Government opens consultation on short-term let registration scheme

The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) is also bringing out a separate consultation, which closes on 6 June, for a new registration scheme for short-term lets.

The DCMS said the register aims to “build a picture” on how many short-term lets there are, where they are located and the impact on local communities.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “This new world of ultra-flexible short-term lets gives tourists more choice than ever before, but it should not come at the expense of local people being able to own their own home and stay local.

“The government wants to help areas get the balance right, and today we have an incomplete picture of the size and spread of our short-term lets market. This consultation on a national registration scheme will give us the data we need to assess the position and enable us to address the concerns communities face.”


Short-term let restriction lower house prices

The consultation comes after a call for evidence earlier this year, with the results revealed today, showed there was broad support for a registration scheme.

The evidence revealed that there are around 257,000 short-term lets and holiday letting listings in England, with the three top regions being South West, London and South East.

It noted that on average hosts listed one to two properties and earned around £5,000 to £6,000, with each short-term let thought to be let between 25 to 30 days each year by two to three guests.

The figures are also showed that there are between 1.6 million and 2.6 million stays and between 3.2 million and 7.7 million visitors.

The DCMS continued that a lack of data on short-term letting makes local planning and service delivery more challenging and “information asymmetries could put guests at risk”.

It added that where regulations were “not equally applicable or cannot be evenly enforced”, it could create “uneven competition environment for other accommodation providers”. It added that other providers needed to apply for planning permission, comply with detailed regulations and business rates but short-term lets did not.

DCMS said looking at a small number of case studies where restrictions on short-term lets were introduced had found that this did reduce house prices in the relevant areas.

This covered a range of areas including a ban on registration and caps on the annual nights let. It noted that where schemes were “local-level” prices rose in neighbouring areas.

“The evidence on supply is limited and mixed, and the impact appears to be influenced by the type of scheme introduced and the strength of enforcement. There was no evidence available at the time of writing on the impact of regulatory changes on short-term let prices per night,” it added.

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