Govt. plans tougher holiday let planning rules  


Homeowners will need to get planning permission before converting properties into short-term holiday lets in tourist hotspots, according to government proposals.  

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has launched a consultation that proposes stricter planning rules for an existing home to be turned into a short-term let.  

It says the move will “help support local people in areas where high numbers of holiday lets are preventing them from finding affordable housing”.  

The consultation will also consider whether to give homeowners the flexibility to let out their properties for up to a specified number of nights in a calendar year without the need for planning permission.  

The paper asks whether this period should be 30, 60 or 90 nights a year.  

Housing secretary Michael Gove says: “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.”  

The new proposals come as the Department for Culture Media and Sport also launches a separate consultation on a new registration scheme for short-term lets.  

The scheme aims to build a picture of how many short-term lets there are and where they are located, to help understand the impact of short-term lets on communities.  

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer says: “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.”  

Both of these measures are focussed on short-term lets, and will not impact hotels, hostels or B&Bs.  

The register of short-term lets is being introduced through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which is currently making its way through parliament.  

The government says, subject to the outcome of the consultation, these planning changes will be introduced through secondary legislation later in the year and would apply in England only.  

Short Term Accommodation Association chief executive Andy Fenner says: “We support a registration scheme but introducing a planning permission requirement completely ignores the contribution short-term rentals make to the economy.   

“Many thousands of small businesses will be affected by these changes if the government sees them through.  

“It’s important this issue doesn’t become a political football when the short-term rental sector is a key reason why the UK is so attractive to international and domestic tourists. Its role in providing local employment is routinely overlooked and measures to solve housing shortages should instead be focused on building new homes in sufficient numbers.  

“We’ve seen similar measures introduced in Edinburgh but the effect was a damaging reduction in short-term rental availability, with many forced to exit the market.  

“We need the government to get round the table and identify an alternative way forward that doesn’t do as much harm to the tourist industry and local jobs.”

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