Short Term Lets in England Will Soon Need Planning Permission.

Feb 21, 2024

The Housing Secretary Michael Gove has announced that legislation is to be introduced in England this summer to require owners of short term lets to obtain planning permission from their local council prior to letting.  Similar rules already exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland with Wales set to introduce their own rules as well. 

The move is an attempt to manage the housing crisis specifically where long-term rental availability is greatly reduced due to Airbnb-type lettings.  The legislation will enable councils to restrict the number of licenses for short term lets in a specific area.

The legislation will not affect properties already rented short term which will not require permission.  The new rules will not apply to people who rent out their main residence for 90 days or less in a year.

A compulsory national register is to be set up providing local councils with data on short term lets in their area.

Clearly short-term letting in the UK does generate considerable Revenue but set against this is the erosion of the housing market in places like Cornwall.  Michael Gove in his announcement acknowledged the role short term lets play in the tourist industry but stated that councils needed help to bring the market under control.  The proposed rules will not affect hotels or B & B’s.  

There will be undoubtedly fees involved in making an application for planning permission likely to be a few hundred pounds.

Perhaps not surprisingly it is thought HMRC will have access to the national register.  

Landlords in London are already subject to a similar regime that requires approval from the local authority for lets exceeding 90 days per annum.

As part of the announcement, the Government signaled its intention 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.

Airbnb has welcomed the announcement with Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe, Airbnb saying: ‘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.’

It is likely that the intended legislation will get wide support in the House of Commons i.e. a change of Government would not see a reversal of the proposals.

If you have any questions about how this topic affects you, please feel free to reach out to us on 01902 711370 or email enquiries@uklandlordtax.co.uk.

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