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Short Lets Clampdown: Airbnb warns against over the top measures

Airbnb is warning the UK government not to be heavy handed in its planning controls restricting the short lets sector.

At the end of last week the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities launched a formal consultation that planning consent would be required for an existing home to be used as a short let.

The government consultation includes 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.

Meanwhile another government division - the Department for Culture Media and Sport  - has launched a separate consultation proposing a new mandatory registration scheme for short lets.

But AirBnb is not so keen on at least one of the new proposals.

Theo Lomas, Airbnb’s head of public policy in Northern Europe, says: “Airbnb has long called for a national register for short-term lets and we welcome the government taking this forward. 

“We know that registers are clear and simple for everyday Hosts to follow while giving authorities the information they need to regulate effectively. 

“The vast majority of UK Hosts share one home, and almost four in 10 say the earnings help them afford the rising cost of living. 

“We want to work with the government to ensure that any planning interventions are carefully considered, evidence-based, and strike a balance between protecting housing and supporting everyday families who let their space to help afford their home and keep pace with rising living costs.”

The new trade body for short lets has also opposed the planning proposal.

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.”

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


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