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Government clampdown on holiday lets

  • 19/02/2024
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Government clampdown on holiday lets
Short-term and holiday lets will require planning permission under new proposals that include a national register.

The Department for Levelling Up, which last year announced a routine review of Homes England, said the rules on holiday lets are being introduced “to protect communities and keep homes available” and means “local residents will be protected from being pushed out of their communities”.

Under the reforms, councils will be given greater power to control short-term lets by making them subject to the planning process. Ministers said this will support local people in areas where high numbers of short-term lets are preventing them from finding housing they can afford to buy or rent.

Under the rules, homeowners will still be able to let out their own main or sole home for up to 90 nights per year.

The changes are part of a long-term plan to prevent a “hollowing-out” of communities and address anti-social behaviour.


Mandatory national register

Under the rules, a new mandatory national register will give local authorities the information they need about short-term or holiday lets in their area. This will help councils understand the extent of short-term lets in their area and the effects on their communities, and underpin compliance with key health and safety regulations.

Michael Gove, secretary of state for levelling up housing and communities, said: “Short-term lets can play an important role in the UK’s flourishing tourism economy, providing great, easily accessible accommodation in some of the most beautiful parts of our country.

“But in some areas, too many local families and young people feel they are being shut out of the housing market and denied the opportunity to rent or buy in their own community.

“So the government is taking action as part of its long-term plan for housing. That means delivering more of the right homes in the right places, and giving communities the power to decide.

“This will allow local communities to take back control and strike the right balance between protecting the visitor economy and ensuring local people get the homes they need.”

Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said: “The introduction of a short-term lets register is good news for everyone. Families who host on Airbnb will benefit from clear rules that support their activity, and local authorities will get access to the information they need to assess and manage housing impacts and keep communities healthy, where necessary.

“We have long led calls for the introduction of a host register, and we look forward to working together to make it a success.”

The proposed planning changes would see a new planning ‘use class’ created for short-term lets not used as a sole or main home. Existing dedicated short-term lets will automatically be reclassified into the new use class and will not require a planning application.

The government also intends to introduce associated permitted development rights – one allowing for a property to be changed from a short-term let to a standard residential dwelling, and a second that would allow a property to be changed to a short-term let. Local authorities would be able to remove these permissions and require full planning permission if they deem it necessary.

Both of these measures are focused on short-term or holiday lets, and therefore the planning changes and register will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

This comes after HMRC’s tax crackdown on side hustles, including Airbnb, earlier in the year.

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