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Graham Awards


Radical changes to short let laws proposed by Michael Gove

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has this morning announced wholesale changes to planning and regulations surrounding short lets.

His proposals include:

- planning permission will be required for future short-term lets;


- a mandatory national register;

- existing homeowners can continue to let out their own main or sole home for up to 90 nights a year;

- unspecified proposals which Gove says “will give communities greater control over future growth”.

Under the clampdown councils will be given greater power to control short-term lets by making them subject to the planning process. Gove claims “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 to rent.”

Meanwhile, the new mandatory national register will give local authorities the information they need about short-term lets in their area, and the government suggests this “will help councils understand the extent of short-term lets in their area, the effects on their communities, and underpin compliance with key health and safety regulations.”

Existing homeowners will still be able to let out their own main or sole home without planning consent but only for up to 90 nights throughout a year.

The government says it is still working on the details so that the register “does not apply disproportionate regulation for example on property owners that let out their home infrequently.”

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 says it 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 focussed on short-term lets, and therefore the planning changes and the register will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

Further details are expected later today. 

Gove says: “These changes will ensure people have more control over housing in their cherished communities. We know short-term lets can be helpful for the tourist economy, but we are now giving councils the tools to bring them under control so that local people can rent those homes as well. These changes strike a balance between giving local people access to more affordable housing, while ensuring the visitor economy continues to flourish.”

And another government minister - tourism minister Julia Lopez - adds: "Short-term lets provide flexibility for homeowners and give tourists more accommodation options than ever before, but this should not prevent local people from being able to buy or rent homes in their area. The government is committed to getting the balance right to ensure both local people and our visitor economy can thrive.”

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    The guy is a complete clown. But I guess adding layers of bureaucracy and telling people what they can and can't do with their own property is easier than reversing the 10 million migrants who have settled her in just 15 years or building more homes.

    • G W
    • 19 February 2024 00:46 AM

    You are right, but it’s all part of the plan, I’m selling up as I believe it’s gonna get worse under labour

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    The government don't have the money for their previously announced house building targets so are introducing stricter controls over the number and use of holiday homes - licencing and taxing them no doubt - all under the guise of controlling housing in cherished communities.
    Immigration exceeding 100,000 a year and with no end in sight of the war in Ukraine only goes to show that while refugees are welcome there are insufficient homes for them leave alone English citizens who have been waiting years on the Council lists.

    • G W
    • 19 February 2024 09:30 AM

    Sounds about right, I’ve voted both main parties over the years but feel Tories certainly run out of sensible ideas but fear labour will be radical not in our favour…

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    Gove is a clown, agreed, but this proposed policy has little to do with immigration which our country needs to continue due to our demographic deficit and to power growth. What we need to do is to enable local authorities to build home to rent - we could call them "council houses" which will be made available predominantly to local people in our "cherished communities". This was done under the Attlee Labour government after WW2 and then dismantled by Thatcher in the 1980's. There is no reason why Holiday Homes and the Private Rental sector, in which I am an investor, cannot coexist in such a scenario.

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    If immigration worked we would be fantastically wealthy. Its a massive drain on the economy.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Areas have been decimated by a shift to holiday accommodation. In areas like Cornwall, this is most acute. The disparity of both regulation/compliance and tax between the PRS & short let is another primary driver and these should be placed on even footing.
    These are all sensible steps IF there is the funding and infrastructure to enforce it. Gove should add a requirement on any such portal/platform (e.g. Airbnb) that they must verify that a host is the owner or (if not) has the owner's consent to let/sublet it and that (where applicable) it is permissible under the Head Lease. We are facing a tenant illegally subletting for the 2nd time and the lack of accountability and apathy (bordering on enabling) of illegal sublets by many operators is a disgrace.
    Most of these platforms could automate these checks within days if they were so inclined. However, why will they spend money buildinga tool that will reduce the own income- if they don't have to.

  • Peter Hendry

    The ultimate remedy for the house price and rent level crisis requires action on the twin fronts of home marketing and planning control in combination.
    It is not the lack of total supply of places to live, as others now confirm, but the lack of such properties coming to the market to meet the current demand. For the full explanation and remedy please search online for The House Price Solution.

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    Unfortunately, I am a landlord with 34 properties I have built this portfolio up over 22 years, 80% of my tenants are long term, but now with section 24, I am having to set up 2 more businesses, temporarily in the hope to make enough money to prop this portfolio up, while I dispose of it, in the least destructive way both financially and minimum disruption to my lovely tenants.
    It is too much, paying the mortgages, then as we all know as we cannot offset that cost, it then becomes taxable income, that I have PAID OUT! In my case due to the size of the portfolio, I am now in the 45% tax bracket.... yes "whoopy do.”
    I get the 20% allowance.
    Now a lucky friend of mine who did their portfolio in a ltd company from the start, can offset her mortgages, and is doing well, but I am penalised because I am not LTD, sound familiar.
    I looked at incorporation with Property 118, and another tax advisory firm, ( we all know how that is going, shocking) the cost would be approx. £350,000 with latent tax, conveyancing fees etc, even if you could take advantage of the entrepreneurs relief, I don't have that amount of money, and I would need to borrow more to do that, which I can't justify strangling myself and my family with, and also I suppose for the first time in my life, disillusioned and totally fed up, I will get over it, I ALWAYS DO.
    Feeling discriminated against right now, always loved the fact the UK was a nation of as" MT "put it, shop keepers and had great opportunities for people with get up and go. Having lifted myself from poverty as a kid, paid more than my share of taxes all my working life, feeling great about supplying local people in my area with decent homes, supplied local tradesman with appreciated trade I am EVOLVING down a different path.
    These homes are going to be sold off one by one and with all new regulations coming around selling etc that has its challenges too, it will take a little time to do it right and in a small village it’s going to be just GREAT, but "Hey Ho", a LTD Company Housing Provider will benefit from them I expect. as all of us non-Ltd company landlords know, we are penalised for not being in their club....... Operating in an ex-mining area with low employment, and all that goes with that. Having come from a similar background, my father was a miner, my siblings unemployed for some of their adult lives. I have not only provided good homes, but I have also encouraged 5 single parents into work nurtured them through the transition of coming from 4/5 generations of families of never having worked, been an advocate for being a worker, contributing to our community, and respecting ourselves and others in our community. Having nothing as a kid myself, I have been involved in helping their children into apprenticeships, got involved with local groups to help improve the area for us all and enjoyed it. Yes, being a landlord has been a varied role but a rewarding one. Unfortunately, not now, I cannot help anyone, I JUST COMPLY, I simply do not have the time, I am selling their home soon anyway and need to concentrate my efforts on that. I have raised their rents to full market value, there will be no time to recycle and refurbish items and distribute to them for free, as they cannot afford new. No time for help groups, or coffees. They are a now not people but numbers on a spread sheet. These numbers are causing me and my family extreme pain and anxiety. I will now use that time to generate another income stream to pay for the exit and hopefully retain a home for my own family at the end.
    When I go home, some of my childhood friends still in their ex-mining towns, and are like a proportion of my tenants, from 4/5 generations of either unemployed or low-income work, now claiming full UC, or top on their wages. They still have time, to help others, socialise, love their family, go for a run, bake a cake. Well sometimes working as a dinner lady, a cleaner or a factory/ call centre worker, or having five kids and being a stay-at-home parent, seems like a MUCH BETTER PATH.... I think, I made the wrong choice.
    Having no control over my own business, paying tax on money you do not earn, being vilified in the press, strangled by over compliance, and now discrimination, working 80 + hours a week, becoming like a robot with no time to see my family or look after my loved ones. Just because I am not a LTD COMPANY. It is what it is, DON'T YOU JUST LOVE THIS COUNTRY.
    Anonymous housing provider and previous free job & life coach for the community, signing off.

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    Good afternoon Zara,
    I was deeply moved by your resume of your experience as a landlord, it is a sad reflection of the state of housing in the uk that decent housing providers are being are forced out by the likes of shelter generation rent ,acorn etc the fact is extremists fanatics and the politics of hate dominate the future of housing in the UK , the viciousness of the Hate Crime that landlords and their children suffer on a daily basis is inhuman .
    We have to accept the fact that cynical politicians see profit in hate, and the abuse intimidation and terror suffered by their victims is not going to abate in the foreseeable future
    I can only say that the situation is totally different in other countries some time ago our concerns about the extremists were such that we decided to buy some apartments and houses in Europe this was some time before the renters reform bill made the future really scary , it was a revelation the toxic negativity which poisons rentals in the Uk is not an issue over there and we can now see where the future is
    So over fifty homes will no longer be available for tenants in the UK ,so all I can say is think very carefully about what your families future will look like if you remain a landlord in the UK , if you come to the same decision as we did , get out now ,yesterday or the day before please do not delay
    Kindest regards tony


    Unfortunately this faux-tory goverment fail at arithmetic. They believe that there are more tenants than landlords, so more votes for them. W-R-O-N-G!

    Tenants will not vote forr the faux-Tories so net increase in votes = ZERO
    Landlords, who would vote for the faux-Tories, now will not, so net loss in votes = see REFORM rising in the polls.


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