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Graham Awards


Anger over Airbnbs and holiday lets needing planning consent

The new trade body for short lets has reacted angrily to a government plan for AirBnb and other short let hosts to seek planning consent.

Andy Fenner, chief executive of the Short Term Accommodation Association, says: “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.”

The group’s anger follows the publication today by the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities of a formal consultation which proposes the requirement of planning consent for an existing home to start to be used as a short let.

It will also consider another option - whether to give owners flexibility to let their home for up to a specified number of nights in a calendar year without the need for planning permission.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the planning changes would be introduced through secondary legislation later in the year and would apply in England only.

The government says it “wants to ensure the country reaps the benefits of diverse and sustainable accommodation and support the visitor economy, while also protecting local communities and ensuring the availability of affordable housing to rent or buy.”

The proposed planning changes would see a planning use class created for short term lets not used as a sole or main home, alongside new permitted development rights, which will mean planning permission is not needed in areas where local authorities choose not to use these planning controls.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “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.

“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.”

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

There has been broad support for a registration scheme across the short lets sector. 

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer comments: “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.”

The government claims to have listened to calls from local people in tourist hotspots that they are priced out of homes to rent or to buy and need housing that is more affordable so they can continue to work and live in the place they call home. 

The register of short term lets is being introduced through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

The planning changes and the register apply only to residential properties and will not impact on hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

A link to the consultation on change of use classes is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introduction-of-a-use-class-for-short-term-lets-and-associated-permitted-development-rights

And a link to the consultation on a new holiday let registration scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-a-registration-scheme-for-short-term-lets-in-england

  • icon

    Build more houses etc to ease the accommodation problem?

    Stop the illegal immigration to ease the accommodation problem?
    Government says they aren’t allowed to.

    Gove’s solution? Tell property owners what they can do with their property, who they can rent it to and for how long.

  • icon

    This is a good thing. There is such a shortage of property in tourist areas where students have been shut out. Bear in mind also the effect of the proposed Renters Reform Bill which will effectively abolish fixed term tenancies, so landlords who make money with short lets during summer months will have no certainty of possession. It needs regulating,

    • A W
    • 13 April 2023 09:08 AM

    It's not a good thing. People should be able to do whatever they want with their possessions.
    What is a good thing, is building more bloody properties... which the government seems allergic to. But spending billions on a failure of HS2 or Brexit, that's ok.

  • Matthew Payne

    I wonder whether this is smoke and mirrors to force all these properties back into the long let market where government perhaps now recognise there is a shortfall of the odd property or two??

    • A W
    • 13 April 2023 09:10 AM

    Of course they wont, that would require basic comprehension of supply and demand economics.
    The Government wont spend a penny to fix a problem, only to create them.


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